The world celebrates Safer Internet Day on 9 February every year by spreading awareness on how to prepare and react when faced with cyber threats. Several organisations globally make aware its employees and users about safeguards they need to follow while facing such threats online. Also Read - Almost 60 percent of internet users in India fell prey to hacking in the last 1 year: Report
Yes, the internet can be fascinating but at the same time, it brings with it some challenges where we as users need to ensure that our identity and data online remains safe. Also Read - Mobile cyberattacks on Indian firms up by 854% in 2021: Report
Apart from social media applications we also use a lot of banking and financial platforms on the internet which can be targeted by hackers. Also Read - Beware: This SMS attack can be potentially used by hackers to log in to your WhatsApp account
Therefore, it is our responsibility to protect our identity and investments alike. So here are some ways you can ensure that your internet surfing experience is secure and you are safe from prying eyes.
Change your passwords regularly
I know it can be a task to have different passwords for different apps and services considering there are so many out there today but it is always a healthy practice to keep changing your passwords.
It’s hard to believe but there are still many internet users today who user ‘12345’ as a password (ill-advised) and many use weak passwords for their social media accounts. So weak that even a monkey would be able to hack your account.
A. You should never use the same password for multiple apps and websites and B. You should always use special characters while choosing a password.
The more special characters mean the harder they are to crack. In case it’s difficult for you to manage multiple passwords, get a password manager.
Using Incognito Mode while browsing
Nothing defines privacy more than the following: ‘Ctrl+Shift+N’.
The incognito mode on the web browser has been a bliss for internet users who want to keep their browsing private. For the uninitiated, Incognito Mode can be activated on multiple browsers like Google Chrome, Microsft Edge and Firefox but hitting the Ctrl+Shift+N keys.
In Incognito Mode, your history, temporary internet files, or cookies are not stored on the computer. This also ensures that third-party websites and apps cannot track your online activity. Makes sure what’s private, stays private.
Avoid using free Wi-Fi
We all love freebies. And if you are getting access to free internet, you’ve hit jackpot, right? Wrong.
As hard as it might sound, using free Wi-Fi can mean trouble for your privacy and data security. You see hackers have their eyes set on these public networks and constantly hunt for weaknesses amidst its users. Since you have a lot of sensitive information on your phones and laptops you should avoid connecting your device to free Wi-Fi points.
Turn off location tracking on social media apps
There are several apps out there that unnecessarily track your location even if the app doesn’t require it. If you come across such apps online it is advised that you deny location access to such apps. You also need to make sure that you deny location access to you social media websites like Facebook (unless you don’t want to use its location-based services).
Little do people know that even some web browsers ask for location access from users which is why you need to explore the Settings tab on your web browser and disable location access.
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
When we say “Use a VPN” we meant the ones you can trust. There are several free VPNs out there but they come loaded with ads and at times malware.
Most paid VPNs are bug-free and trustworthy. A VPN can boost your online security as it not only gives the user anonymity by creating a private network from a public connection but also assigns us another IP address so that our online activity cannot be traced.
Don’t click everything
This is for those who cannot spot the difference between a download button and spam. Most hackers use scams to dupe people online. This can be done by sending fake emails and links that promise a cash reward or maybe even an exotic holiday. They can even be disguised as download links for software or images.
Never trust such emails or invitations sent to your inbox as these might be malware that can be used to hack into your computer to steal sensitive financial information. You also should not click random download links on a website and double-check before you click on a link.