You love to use Wi-Fi anywhere you find one, don’t you? Here’s a lie: the internet is a safe and happy place.
Heck no, it is not!
As much as the internet has contributed immensely to how we live, work, and communicate, it is nowhere near safe.
Digital security poses one of the biggest challenges we face today. And this won’t change any time soon.
With everything going on in the world, someone might ask: why is online security important?
And that’s a fair question.
But the answer is pretty simple. We, or at least most of us, live nearly our entire lives on the internet. We buy there; we sell there. Social media has a ton of photos and videos of us (and our grandma). Some platforms have our location, address, social security numbers, occupation, and much more.
There’s all kinds of risks with all these vital information on the web.
Financial crimes, you know, like someone hacking your credit card and siphoning all your money like liquid out of a plastic can.
The list goes on and on.
Now you see why online security is crucial.
With that said, let’s look at 5 simple but effective ways to stay safe online:
- Make Use Of Different Passwords
It’s hard, I know. But it’s important.
Many of us don’t have the brain space to memorize multiple passwords. It’s hard enough to know your phone number, social security number, credit card PIN, phone password, and such. Adding multiple passwords to this list can be, well, frustrating.
But you know what’s more frustrating?
Dealing with identity theft.
Filing for bankruptcy because some anonymous cybercriminal hacked your credit card and stole all your money.
So ask yourself: what would you rather worry about?
I guess the answer is obvious. So what you must do is create one password for each platform you are on, especially if you’ve got sensitive information on them.
I know, I know, there’s the problem of not remembering all your passwords when you need to. Worry not, there’s a solution to that. Multiple, in fact.
You could use password managers such as LastPass or Keeper. They help you manage your passwords and you have access to them whenever you need them.
- Keep A Careful Eye On Your Emails And Texts
A lot of people have lost priceless possessions (money, of course) to people through emails and text.
Criminals may pose as your boyfriend, grandma, boss, or anyone else asking for sensitive information. The good thing is, they never perfect. They will most times leave clues you can notice, if you know what to look for.
Here are a few things to watch out for when reading your emails or texts:
- Language, grammar or spelling error, tone, or unusual mannerisms (like excessive use of emojis).
- Phony email addresses with spelling errors or weir-looking urls.
- Asking for sensitive details out of the blue.
You need to know everyone around you really well. Also important is to know your work and personal urls so as to spot a dodgy one.
- Be Wary Of Public Wi-Fi
Hey, hold up: before you lose your hair let me explain…
I am not saying you shouldn’t use public Wi-Fi. That’d be like leaving fish on the table and telling a cat to watch it. Reports have shown that over 70% of mobile device users will use public Wi-Fi whenever they get the opportunity.
The question is: do you which ones are safe?
Logging on to public Wi-Fi can be pretty dangerous. There’s risk of hackers illegally using these networks as a channel to steal user information. Some may broadcast Wi-Fi signals without passwords and lure the unsuspecting. And the minute they enter sensitive data such as email passwords, or say, credit card PIN, whoosh they get stolen.
You don’t want to be that guy.
To be safe, make enquiries about any public Wi-Fi network you want to use. Be wary if it doesn’t require log in details to access it.
As a general rule: treat every public Wi-Fi with utmost suspicion. Use a VPN as an extra measure to ensure that all your data are encrypted.
Be sure to also include a malware or spyware in your list of security measures.
- Adhere To Safe Surfing Practices
To be safe, there are certain things you need to watch out for.
One of such things is the “prefix” at the beginning of web urls ‘Https’. If you notice a link doesn’t have the ‘s’ at the end of the prefix, it’s best to leave it alone.
You may have also noticed a small padlock sign on your browser’s url tab, just before the url text. Before entering any sensitive details, check that the padlock sign is there and locked. If it’s missing or opened (you know, like an opened padlock sign), leave it.
Only enter sensitive details when the padlock is present and locked.
Why is a little padlock so important?
Well, it shows that the website uses encryption to scramble your data so that the bad guys can’t steal it. Again, watch out for typos or spelling errors in any urls before you use it.
- Remember To Always Update And Backup
One loophole hackers use to get into your computer is outdated software.
They use the weakness of the old versions of your software to gain access and steal your data.
Software developers ensure that they work on updates regularly so as to ensure the safety of their users. You want to make sure you update your apps regularly to get the latest security fixes.
Here’s something you might want to think about:
Instead of doing this manually, you might want to set your devices to update automatically. This way you won’t forget and you will be safe.
Oh and one more thing…
If you are a parent, put some parental control on your kids’ devices and/or on your home Wi-Fi network. This will prevent them from accessing sites that may pose a digital threat to you or your family.
For brick n’ mortar business owners, ensure you work with a trusted Wi-Fi provider. Before you decide to work with a provider, ask to see their security protocols. Collect as much information as you can on the strength of their network security and update schedules.
Going the extra mile to check how secure your Wi-Fi network is will ensure the safety of your staff and customers.POSTED ON March 13, 2021