The internet has become a major part of our lives. Browsing the internet easily takes up about 45 percent of our everyday lives. We have several social media accounts; receive various emails daily from known and unknown contacts; visit multiple web pages on a day-to-day basis to gain knowledge and creative ideas; browse through several goods and services, and sometimes play online games.
We largely depend on the internet and due to this, our personal information is constantly gathered and stored by different giants so that they can deliver advertisements, apps, and experiences according to our interests.
Although the internet is fascinating, useful, and informative, it has some challenges where users need to ensure that their identity and information online remains safe. We need to take measures on a personal level to safeguard ourselves against digital attacks, particularly now that hacking and database theft have become the trend.
Best ways to remain safe while browsing in 2021
Even though you may be tempted to just turn off your computer and permanently go off the grid, taking a few minutes to learn some safe browsing techniques will help to keep your computer free of viruses and keep your personal information safe. Follow these simple safe browsing tips to make yourself much safer against these threats.
- Use a reputable internet browser
First, you need to use a reputable internet browser to ensure basic security. It is recommended for you to use browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and so on. These browsers are guaranteed to protect users from most phishing contents and malware attacks.
- Regularly change your passwords
Having different passwords for different accounts, apps, and services can be demanding, considering there are so many out there today, but it is a healthy practice to regularly change your passwords.
You’ll be shocked to realize that there are several users today that use ‘12345’ as their password and most people use weak passwords for their social media accounts – so weak that their accounts can be easily hacked.
While selecting a password, always use special characters. The more special characters you use will make them more difficult to crack. If you find it difficult to manage multiple passwords, get a password manager.
- Limit sharing your personal information
Always keep your data professional and limited. Your potential customers or employers don’t need to know personal things such as your home address or relationship status.
They only need to know about your expertise and professional background, and how to contact you. Don’t give strangers your personal information individually. Also, don’t share it with millions of people online.
- Practice safe browsing
Just as you’ll not choose to pass through a dangerous neighborhood – don’t visit dangerous web addresses online. Cybercriminals use lurid content to lure their targets. They are aware that most people can be tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down when searching for it.
The internet is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one careless click could expose your personal information or infect your device with a virus or malware. When you resist the urge, you’ll give the hackers zero chance.
- Browse with secured public Wi-Fi networks
Never use an unsecured public Wi-Fi network that is unlocked without a password. If you use one, don’t log into any of your online accounts or enter any personal or financial information.
Hackers are used to set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to tempt unsuspecting web users. As soon as someone logs into the fake Wi-Fi, the hacker can view everything they do online.
- Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a vital safety measure against hacking and identity theft attacks. If someone tries to log into your account from another country, it’ll immediately alert you through an email or message, asking for confirmation that the user is indeed you.
This is also a necessary security tool if you forget your password or if a hacker manually tries to work out your password. You can immediately reset your password using the second authorization and reclaim your account.
- Activate your firewall and anti-virus
A firewall adds more security to your network and devices. It blocks unauthorized access to your computer and makes sure all your networks are secured. Anti-virus software also detects and deletes any virus that accidentally gets into your device, notifies you about poor Wi-Fi passwords, and blocks suspicious websites. You should always enable your firewall and anti-virus software.
- Update your software
Updating your software regularly can be irritating, but you need to do it because viruses are always being updated to find ways to get past the latest software version.
When your software updates, it remains a step ahead of the virus. Updating all software ensures that you have the latest security. If possible, enable automatic Wi-Fi updates, so you don’t have to think about it. Additionally, ensure that your security software runs regular virus scans on your device and scans when a new device is connected to it.
- Always clear your cookies and caches
Regularly deleting cookies and caches enables you to safely browse and prevents targeted ads from advertising brands. Also, it makes your online identity hard to impersonate.
- Disable location tracking on your social media accounts
A lot of apps unnecessarily track your location even when they don’t need to. If you come across such apps online you should deny location access to them. You also need to ensure that you deny location access to your social media accounts unless you’re not going to use its location-based services.
In our world today, online security is a concern that never fades away. If anything, it keeps getting worse. Cyber-attacks such as phishing websites, spyware, and ransomware are some of the worst issues in cybersecurity.
You can use the tips and tricks mentioned above to remain safe while browsing the internet in 2021. Remember that it takes only a little effort to be careful online while it can cost you much more if you remain negligent.