It’s no secret that the internet is home to shady characters, but to stay safe online, you don’t have to turn off the internet. Instead, stay alert and take a look at these four simple tips for online safety:
- Do not share your personal information.
- Check and recheck the links.
- Use a VPN.
- Use a secure public Wi-Fi network.
Read on to learn more about each tip and find resources to help you and your family stay safe while surfing the web.
Do Not Share Your Personal Information
It would help if you never gave out your passwords, banking information or address online. But other information, like details about your relationship, could be used to find answers to your security questions or even give hackers a clue to guess your password.
You should also be aware that anything you post can continue to exist online even after it’s been deleted. Potential employers have asked us for information about the content of our high school blog, which has been offline for a decade.
Check The Links Before Clicking
When checking your email or visiting websites, make sure you know the links and trust them before clicking on them. One way to tell if a link is safe is to hover your mouse over it. A preview of the full link is then displayed in the status bar of your browser. Check that the link preview matches the site it should come from.
You can verify the correct site link by typing the company name on Google. For example, if you receive an email from a bank and the link preview says “www.abcd-bank.com”, it does not match the correct site link that appears in Google: “www. abcd.com”.
Use A VPN With Your Wi-Fi Connection
A VPN, or virtual private network, securely connects your device to an Internet server so that no one can monitor your activity or access your data through your Internet connection. It’s a great (and legal) way to secure your connection at home and even when using public Wi-Fi.
The only downside to the increased security a VPN offers? It can slow down your internet connection. Indeed, the VPN passes your information through another server to secure your data. We win a little; we lose a little, it seems. But you should know that if you download a quality VPN for Windows, the content loading speed will be fast, so we recommend that you do some research on google before choosing a VPN.
On the other hand, more and more people are working from home lately, which means many of us can be targeted by criminals online. One way to protect yourself is to use a VPN – and keep it up to date, as the US Agency for Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security (CISA) recommends.
Use Secure Public Wi-Fi Networks
It would be best if you never used an unsecured (unlocked and password-less) public Wi-Fi network unless you have to. And if you do use one, avoid signing in to any of your online or app accounts or entering any personal or financial information.
Hackers have been known to set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to lure unsuspecting internet users. Once someone connects to the fake Wi-Fi, the hacker can see pretty much anything they do online. It’s scary.
If you are in town and looking for a Wi-Fi connection, the safest way is to ask a server or employee for the name of their Wi-Fi network. And if the password is not displayed in a place where you can see it, be sure to get that information as well.