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Tuesday, 14 December 2021 00:00

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Be More Secure Online Featured

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We live in a world where online interactions and transactions are the norms. From work and sales down to completing everyday chores such as buying groceries and keeping track of finances — almost every task that’s traditionally done by hand is now being electronically completed by machines.

While this has made many a human life convenient and simpler to keep organized, it’s also put us in a position of risk for identity theft, hacking, and scams.

Without the right security systems in place, anyone can easily become a victim of cybercrime.

But, don’t fret — there are several ways we can stay safe and protected while participating in online transactions.

Here are five (5) simple things you can do to be more secure online.

 

#1. Check for SSL certification

Before conducting transactions on any website, you need to make sure that said website is secure and protected. One way of doing this is by checking if the website has SSL certifications.

If you don’t already know what SSL Certificates are, here’s a quick definition:

Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is a digital certificate provided to a website that authenticates its identity by encrypting the data that is stored on it.

SSL certificates allow secure connections between web servers and browsers, which makes life much harder for hackers and cybercriminals on the internet.

Websites that are secured by SSL certificates show a gray padlock beside their web address to indicate their certification. Furthermore, these websites are typically prefixed with an “https” instead of the normal “http.”

These determinants may vary depending on the browser you’re using. Make sure to research how your browser identifies SSL-protected websites so you can browse more freely.

#2. Avoid sharing personal information

People today are chronic oversharers. We share everything we hold dear and important on our social media feeds. From birthdays and anniversaries to newly acquired real estate and other assets.

All these things might seem harmless on the surface, but for an experienced cybercriminal, it’s a pool of free personal information they can use to hack into your accounts.

While it’s true that having a social media feed that embodies your personality and qualification is important — especially in today’s employment landscape where employers check their employees’ soc-med accounts — sharing sensitive information e.g., your address, birth date, and phone number is unnecessary and dangerous.

Even mentioning these details in emails can still put you at risk.

As much as possible, avoid disclosing personal information in your posts, emails, and online messages.

#3. Keep your computer, mobile, and other device software

When was the last time you updated your phone or laptop’s software? We’re guessing it’s been a while — and that’s the same for most users across the globe.

That said, keeping your device software up to date is incredibly important.

Software that isn’t regularly updated — even the ones that are essentially designed for Web Security — are vulnerable to malware, viruses, and other online threats.

Be mindful of official update notifications from device and software manufacturers. That way you won’t miss a single update or be at risk of potential online threats.

#4. Double-check emails

“Congratulations! You’ve just won a thousand dollars from Tesla. Claim your free money by clicking here.

Sound familiar?

These are what we call phishing emails or fake emails, and often they contain viruses and malware that quickly infiltrate your device system to steal valuable information or to destroy important data.

Before clicking on any link or opening any attachments, double-check the sender and see if they’re legit.

Plenty of phishers use emails that nearly resemble the official email of reputable companies, with small unnoticeable alterations.

Here are a few quick examples:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A simple way to protect yourself from email phishers is by installing reliable Email Security on your device to protect your conversations and data.

#5. Secure your internet connection

Nowadays, with more people working from home and other spaces outside the office, the need for secure internet access has grown significantly more important.

Unsecure Wi-Fi networks can very easily serve as a portal for hackers and cybercriminals to enter your device and steal your data.

Regularly changing your home Wi-Fi is a great way to protect yourself from online opportunists that are just waiting for you to make a mistake. And when you’re outside, using a VPN to connect to public Wi-Fi can also protect you from online threats.

Still, when you’re in public, it’s much safer if you avoid sending sensitive information over that channel. That way, you don’t accidentally share anything that’s vital to your online safety.

The bottom line

The online world is just as dangerous as the real world. Without the right security systems in place, we put ourselves at risk of getting hacked and scammed by cybercriminals who are just waiting for the right moment to pounce.

Be an active participant in your online security efforts. Take note of the five (5) tips we’ve mentioned above. Hopefully, it can teach you how to be more secure online.

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Kat Sarmiento

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