The pandemic forced everyone to increase the amount of time they use the Internet, but many people weren’t prepared for this step, and therefore they have no idea how to protect themselves against internet threats.
Educating themselves against cyber threats is one of the best ways to improve online security, and if you ignored this process before, this may be the moment to do it.
If you install some basic Internet security software programs, they should be able to identify and stop many threats, but the truth is no program can catch them all, especially when some of them come from the internet service provider and not the online medium.
Cybercriminals use every tool they can get to violate your privacy and get your personal data. But if you learn how to spot a threat and protect your security online, you may be able to protect yourself from the danger that lurks around the web.
What is digital security?
Digital security means protecting your internet-connected devices from cyber threats that can come in the form of phishing, hacking, and more. Digital security also refers to protecting your personal data from being used unauthorized or sold to third parties.
There are many ways to protect yourself when browsing the Internet, using identity monitoring services and VPNs to create strong passwords and ensure the internet service provider is reliable.
Why is internet security important?
At the present, the most concerning problem is the extensive use of social media. Social media platforms have regulations, but anyone can easily register on Facebook, Instagram, and all other platforms even if they’re not genuinely interested in socializing.
Online gaming also makes it challenging to stay safe online because you cannot know for sure who you’re talking about when you play on online platforms. Therefore, there is always the risk of being exposed to cyber threats, cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and other dangers that can affect your mental health or data privacy.
Also, there is the growing concern of footprint, as what you share on social media instantly becomes available to anyone who wants to check your activity.
During the last months, we also witnessed the use of fake news with people being misinformed and manipulated through the information they access online.
How to protect yourself from the threats that lurk on the web
Whether you’re using a shopping app to order groceries or if you work online, there’s always the chance cyber criminals to track your activity and try to get your personal data. Your internet-connected devices are easy targets for hackers, but don’t throw them away yet; you can still prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer or phone.
Safeguard your phone
When using your phone, you are tempted to install apps from outside the official app store and make some tweaks to your phone to boost your experience. But jailbreaking exposes you to malware because the apps you install from unreliable sources aren’t screened for viruses.
When you do it, you remove all the security measures the phone manufacturer built to protect you, and leave yourself vulnerable to cyber threats.
Even if it’s annoying to type the password every time you use the phone, set an auto-lock to prevent other people from using your phone when you’re not paying attention. Use a passcode only you know or biometrics like your face or the fingertip to ensure that no one can break it.
Install the latest updates to keep up with the latest advancements because Apple and Google are continually improving security measures.
The latest smartphone models allow you to turn on the erase data option similar to the self-destruct solution. When there are too many failed passcode attempts, the phone deletes all information to leave hackers with nothing to steal.
Know how to identify a safe website
Given the amount of time you spend on websites, you should know when a website is safe and when it shows signs of malware, viruses, and phishing.
Here are some things to look after when you evaluate a website:
- Does it have a padlock symbol before the URL?
- Does it have a HTTPS URL?
- Does it accept all major payment methods?
- Does the browser marks it as an unsafe resource?
- Does it redirect you to other shady-looking pages?
- Do pop-ups appear at every click?
Use internet services from a reliable ISP
Internet service providers handle a huge amount of data, and sometimes they are the perfect target for hackers. Not once, internet service providers failed to protect their clients and found themselves in daunting situations when cybercriminals stole private information and sold it.
If you’re the victim of port redirection, the data moving between your internet service provider and you aren’t safe because a third-party intercept it. You can also be the target for a man-in-the-middle attack or social engineering technique that can only steal information and money. The ISP’s role is to prevent these issues and ensure optimal security for all its clients.
When you choose an internet service provider, check if they have updated security controls, train their employees to identify threats, stay vigilant to prevent possible attacks, and monitor the data that reaches your device.
Use a VPN
You can also use a VPN to encrypt the web traffic in a tunnel, provide you with a new IP address, and hide your activity from other internet users. VPN services are also useful when you use public internet networks or when you want to access geo-restricted websites.
VPNs make it more challenging for hackers to break your devices and download information from your router, laptop or smartphone.
Browsing the internet securely isn’t difficult when you know how to protect yourself. There are many ways to protect your web activity, but the above ideas are the most effective ones.