How to Stay Secure Online
As much as we’d like to say that the internet is free from hacks, scams, malware and more, these days, it has become a place where malicious prying eyes certainly do roam. However, the good news is that by practising basic security measures, we can significantly reduce our exposure to online threats. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the basic ground-rules that can keep you safe from internet ne'er-do-wells.
In This Guide:
- Why is it important to stay safe online?
- Our Internet Security Tips
- Stay Secure Online with a VPN
- Compare Internet Deals
Why is it important to stay safe online?
The internet is full of useful, exciting, and informative stuff. It is also a place where there is exposure to risk. For example, when you share information online or conduct transactions, then there’s a possibility that your private data can fall into the wrong hands. In short, you make yourself vulnerable to:
- Malware (malicious software that can damage a computer or a network).
- Computer Worms (a type of malware that can corrupt files, steal sensitive data, and give cybercriminals access to your computer).
- Spam (unsolicited messages in your email inbox which can include links that will install malicious hardware onto your computer).
- Phishing (phishing schemes can take on many forms, but the more common threats use text messages, phone calls, apps, and social media quizzes to “fish” for information).
- Botnets (botnets target servers, computers, and smaller devices to ultimately hinder a network’s performance).
Our Internet Security Tips
Below, you’ll find some useful tips and practices that will help you to stay secure online:
Use Privacy Settings
Social media accounts and online profiles are a window of opportunity for cybercriminals. Take advantage of the advanced security settings offered by networks to ultimately safeguard your details from strangers and never befriend someone you don’t know or who comes across as suspicious.
Choose Strong Passwords
“12345” just won’t cut it as a password. Instead, choose longer passwords that include both letters and numerals. It’s also important that you don’t use the same password for everything. Once you have your passwords, remember to keep them safe from hungry cyberthieves (research Password Managers to see if they would be beneficial to you).
Practice Safe Browsing
Just like you would avoid a dangerous neighbourhood, you should resist visiting websites that could be riddled with trickery and malware. Avoid unsafe content and illegal online entities (even free streaming sites can pose a risk).
Don’t Open Suspicious Links or Attachments
Whether you receive a suspicious email or stumble upon an unsavoury download link, as a rule of thumb – don’t click on it! Random and unsecured links can automatically put you in the line of fire. By clicking on the link, you can automatically install malicious content onto your device, making yourself vulnerable to hackers and viruses.
Only Make Online Purchases from Secure Sites
Only provide credit card and bank account information to websites that have secure, encrypted connections. You can confirm the safety of a site by looking for an address that begins with “https”. The “s” in this acronym symbolises the link’s security (sometimes this “s” also features a padlock icon).
Be Careful Who You Meet Online
People who you meet online may not always be who they claim to be, and their intentions may be far from good. Be as cautious and sensible when meeting individuals online as you would be in your personal social life. Also, remember that accounts and social profiles can be hacked, so look for suspicious behaviour from users who you do know.
Keep Your Antivirus Program Up to Date
Anti-virus programs may not be able to protect against every threat, but they can detect and remove most malware. To get the most out of your ant-virus program and to ensure that it’s always on top form, it’s important that you update the software regularly. This way, you can provide a vital layer of security to your computer or mobile device.
Stay Secure Online with a VPN
One ultimate way to protect yourself online is to install a VPN onto your device/s or to invest in a VPN router.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an online service that you subscribe to. You can get free VPNs, but the most efficient ones come with a small monthly charge. Once your VPN account is active, then you need to make sure that it is always “on” when you browse and use the internet. This VPN then works to make your connection more secure by providing you with a temporary IP address that overrides your current IP address - thus masking your identity.
Where can I get a VPN?
There are many VPN providers that can easily be found online. However, before you select the first VPN supplier that pops up in your search, we encourage you to first compare deals and prices so that you can save money as well as settle on a service that’s 100% beneficial to your exact requirements.
Compare Internet Deals
The Money Expert team has made finding the best internet deals easier than ever before. Whether you are searching for a cheap internet deal, a VPN to up your online security or a more reliable router for your connection – we’re here to help! Simply use our free online quote comparison tool by filling in a few details and we’ll do the admin for you. You’ll be able to compare plans and prices within minutes.