The Internet has become an everyday thing for us, and many of us can’t imagine our lives without it. However, not many people are completely aware of all the dangers that they’re exposed to while browsing the World Wide Web. Sure, we’ve all heard of virus infections and how they can be nasty, but with a very superficial understanding of the true issue. The real problem is that damage that those viruses, and the people that program them, can do to your system, your bank account, your reputation and so on – all via your Internet connection. Thanks to the web, you may never find out the name and face of your attacker, but the damage will be done anyway.
Fortunately, there are a few relatively easy things that you can do in order to protect yourself from hackers online. In this article, we’ll be discussing seven crucial things that you should keep in mind when using the Internet, in order to minimize the chances that you’ll be targeted by a cyber attack.
1. Strengthen Your Passwords
This one has been said so many times it’s almost common sense by now, but we’ll mention it anyway. A strong password is paramount to keeping yourself secure online. Easy passwords such as your birth date, your address or phone number can easily be cracked, and it is the first things that hackers try when they want to gain access to any of your accounts. It’s best to use randomly generated passwords, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, number and symbols.
2. Use a VPN
One of the easiest ways to quickly and drastically increase your level of protection online is to not access the web directly, but rather via a virtual private network. The moment that your PC connects to a VPN, your connection is encrypted by a wide array of secure tunneling protocols, and it’s also given a new IP address. This means that not only is the hacker prevented from getting any information that they’d normally be able to obtain from your real IP address, but even in the event that your traffic does get leaked, it’s going to be nearly impossible to read because of the encryption. If you want immediate protection with the least amount of effort possible, be sure to download PureVPN or some equally good VPN application so you can secure your PC and/or handheld device.
3. Do Not Link Accounts
Whenever you’re offered to sign into a website using your Google+ or Facebook account, remind yourself that this is a bad idea. While convenient, this method can highly increase the chances of your account being compromised, and here’s why: in the past, serious security breaches have happened to major websites such as Dropbox, Yahoo and even Facebook, which led to the theft of user credentials. In other words, the hackers gained access to random people’s accounts. If your account is compromised, and you’ve used it to log into a third-party website, that means that the hacker now has access to said website as well – via your Facebook account, for example. So don’t fall for the convenience trap and avoid linking your accounts, and you just might thank yourself for doing so in the future.
4. Use HTTPS Always
HTTPS is the secure version of the hypertext transfer protocol, which the World Wide Web utilizes in all of its transmissions. This protocol is now being adopted by all major websites, and there’s no real reason why anyone shouldn’t use it nowadays. If you see a website with regular old HTTP, try to avoid it if at all possible. Information transmitted over an HTTP protocol can much more easily be read by a third party, which is certainly something you don’t want to happen to you.
5. Clear Your Private Data
6. Log Out
Speaking of logging in, here’s another wacky suggestion for you: every time you log in somewhere, you should log out the moment you’re done with it – especially if you’re in an office or an Internet café. Think of it as locking your door when leaving your house; sure, if you leave it unlocked maybe you’ll be fine, or maybe someone will come by and steal everything of worth in your house. What you do online is your own business and no one should be able to access any of it, be it your e-mail, your Facebook account or anything else, and staying logged in means that you’re giving them an opportunity to do just that.
7. Have More Than One E-Mail Address
If you have a single e-mail address that you use for virtually everything, you might want to consider registering another one. As you know, whenever you open a new account on a website, be it a message board, social media or online purchasing, you need to submit your e-mail address. You can also reset your password via this e-mail address and get a new one. So, say a hacker managed to break into your e-mail. If you used the same e-mail to register every account you have, the hacker now has access to all of your passwords. At the very least, you should use a separate e-mail for your bank account and any websites on which you’ve shared your financial information. That way, in the event that a security breach does happen to your regular e-mail address, at least you know that your credit card information is safe and sound.
Meet our guest author!
Adam loves everything related to technology since he was five years old and it was that love that brought him into web development. Soon after he graduated from college, he got a job in Dallas working as a web developer and not long after that, he was recognized for his qualities as a writer. Presently, he’s a freelance writer for wefollowtech.com and is very happy because of it. In his free time, when he’s got any, he enjoys playing basketball and hiking.