Let’s face it, the technological advances of the last decades have changed the way we live. Today, almost every other person in the world uses technology in their day-to-day lives. For example, from online training to online shopping and video games, the internet today offers endless benefits to its users.
Yet, as Internet users grow all over the world, these users are more exposed to online threats and scams. Additionally, as cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their attacks, it is natural to feel paranoid while using the Internet. For example, you may be worried that one day you will open your online banking application and see a large zero balance in your account because a hacker stole your credentials.
Or maybe you are worried that the photos you shared on social media accounts have been stolen by online scammers, and they might demand a ransom from you. Cybercrimes can indeed happen to anyone at any time. Still, the good news is that you can adopt different ways to protect yourself from online theft. So you wonder what are the most effective ways to protect yourself against online crimes? Then take a closer look at the list below that will protect you in your online life:
1. Set complex passwords
Your first line of defense against online attacks is your password. Unfortunately, once cybercriminals know your password, they can do whatever they want. So, first, make sure to create a hard-to-crack password for hackers. Also, to ensure that your local network has a secure connection, it must have a strong password. This is where the role of internet security key comes into play.
Network Security Key refers to the password or numeric code that helps you connect to your network and prevent access by unauthorized devices. Your devices need a password to connect to your home Wi-Fi network; this password is the network security key. For example, you probably have a Wi-Fi router at home. A pro tip is to set a long password made up of a mix of numbers, special characters, upper and lower case letters.
Also, be sure to set different and unique passwords for each account. Note that you should never share your passwords with anyone. Also, be sure to reset your passwords from time to time.
2. Use a VPN
Virtual Private Network or VPN refers to an encrypted connection that allows you to hide your online activities. This way, third parties cannot spy on what you do online. If possible, try to use the VPN. Imagine this; you sit at a local restaurant and use the free Wi-Fi to surf the Internet for anything, like answering work emails. Do you know if the network you are using is secure or not? Obviously not.
Chances are someone is spying on what you are doing on your device without you even knowing. For this reason, the VPN can be useful. By using a VPN, you can protect your data from prying eyes. Even the Wi-Fi owner won’t know.
3. Keep your devices up to date
One of the most crucial tips you should adopt to protect yourself from cyberattacks is to keep your devices and system up to date. Answer this. Does your device notify you of the latest update? Are you ignoring it because you think you have more important things to do right now and would update it later? However, it can land you in hot waters.
Updating regularly can protect you from online scams as the developers constantly monitor the system or device and push out an update to fix any possible fixes. Therefore, it is advised to enable automatic updates and scan your devices or software frequently to protect yourself from online threats.
4. Be careful when clicking on links
Another tip to protect yourself from online dangers is to be smart. A common way for hackers to attack devices is to trick victims into clicking on suspicious links. Scammers can trick you into clicking on those links by sending them to your email, SMS, etc. Also, scammers often ask you for personal information by tricking you into offering you a job opportunity or money.
Today, online scammers use several means to steal online identities and personal information. So, stay alert and avoid clicking on any attachments or links that may seem unknown or suspicious. While this is true, you should not click on links sent to you by untrusted sources. However, be careful even when the link comes from a trusted friend or family member.
5. Protect yourself with multi-factor authentication
Of course, you have set strong and complex passwords to secure all your accounts on the Internet. But do you still feel a little delusional that pirates might attack you? In this case, consider using multi-factor authentication. Once you enter your email and password in the multi-factor authentication method, the service sends a verification code to verify your identity before giving you access.
And though Multi-Factor Authorization might seem inconvenient to you because you have to spend a few extra minutes before you get access each time you log in. Still, it can give you extra security. Even if cybercriminals know your password, there is not much they can do since they cannot access your account. Usually the services send you a code to your phone number or E-mail address to authenticate your identity.
6. Check website security and encryption
Whenever you open a website to make any financial transaction or shop online, check if the website is genuine and trustworthy. Start by noticing the website address line. If the website address starts with HTTPS instead of HTTP, it indicates that all data you share on the website is secure and encrypted.
Additionally, a padlock symbol appears at the top right of the website address bar if the website is trustworthy. Avoid sharing your personally identifiable information on a website that does not have these two pieces of information, as they are more vulnerable to online attacks.
According to the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) report, approximately 294 million people were victims of data breaches in 2021. No wonder protecting yourself from online scams is a full-time job. A minor mistake on your part, you could have to suffer serious negative consequences.
Undoubtedly, cyber criminals are becoming more and more professional in the current era. And although you may think that using the internet is getting dangerous with all the hacking and scams. Adopting a few security measures such as strong passwords, updating software and devices, being careful while clicking on links, etc., can help protect you from online threats.
Photo credit: The characteristic image was directed by Pavel Danilyuk.
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