Improve Your Online Safety: It’s well known that the internet has had a lot of cybercrime problems since the pandemic, with a large variety of cyber attacks on normal people, small businesses, and even multinational corporations. They can come from malware, ransomware, phishing scams, and more. Statista found that last year there were almost 400,000 reported phishing scams pulled off on consumers, the most common online cybercrime. This alongside data breaches and other virus attacks makes up some of the most common cybercrime on the internet.
Cybercrime has even reached endemic levels, as reported by Forbes this year. Cybercriminals and nefarious third parties can be thwarted if consumers and small businesses took steps to protect themselves and plug potential leaks that the criminals feed off.
Staying safe can come down to a few simple instructions, actions, and just common sense and things you should be aware of when using the internet. Here are the best things you can do to improve your online safety:
Use Online Security Tools
Today, you can find multiple free and effective antivirus software that protects your computer against any malicious files and links online that could work their way into your system without protection. If you want to go the extra mile, you can put money into a full security suite and additional firewall, something that monitors your incoming and outgoing internet traffic and will filter out any dangerous or malicious content from entering your private network.
Additionally, you can invest in a VPN and a proxy server to help protect your online anonymity and protection. A VPN and proxy work similarly, as both provide a cloak of anonymity and encrypt your internet traffic. Proxies, like rotating residential proxies, are physical servers that all you and multiple users to work from your network to the internet and use the proxy as a middleman, keeping your IP confidential and protecting in case a malicious virus does enter the server.
Use Smart Passwords
It might seem overly simple but you can use online tools to find out whether any sites that store your data and passwords have had any data breaches – you’ve likely had at least a password and username combination leaked recently. If you are someone who uses the same password for multiple accounts, you could be at high risk from cybercriminals getting access to your logins. A smart course of action would be to have unique passwords for each login, making them around 15 characters in length and mixing upper and lower case with numbers and symbols. A handy tip would be to add a comma, as this will make your passwords hard to transfer to a CSV in case a cybercriminal gets your password in a data breach.
To make all this easy, you can also use a free and handy password manager which keeps all your different passwords in one place and makes sure they are protected and personal to just you.
Limit Your Social Media
Whilst you may think it is harmless to share your partying habits or what you spend your money on, those Instagram posts can come back to hurt both financially and personally. By revealing personal data and information online, cybercriminals can exploit this and use tidbits of information that might give them access through a secret security question. You should aim to keep your social media accounts private to just people you know and have the content you post on their discreet and protective so you don’t give a cybercriminal a headstart as they aim to get into your accounts and get access to your online identity.
Be Cautious of Public Networks
You should try and avoid using public networks unless necessary, and if you have to you should avoid logging into your bank accounts or any sensitive personal information. Hackers have been known to set up based on these public networks that sit harmlessly in coffee shops and waiting rooms at airports. Once someone logs in on the network, the hacker can track, log and access everything that the victim does. Try and use public networks that require a password, otherwise, you can wait till you get home to do your online browsing.
Use Safe Websites
If you are using a website and entering in personal data, financial information, or downloading files from a webpage, you should check the address bar to see whether you are using a safe and secure website. If you see a padlock symbol, that will ensure the website is encrypted and any data or transactions going to and from the website are safe. Another way to check is to look for the “HTTPS://”, with the ‘s’ standing for secure. This process is particularly important for any website you use where you have to enter financial information, as these are the places cybercriminals will target the most.