If you’re anything like us, your internet access is probably a big part of your daily life. You use it to check emails, keep up with friends and family, look up information on the topics that interest you and so much more. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that as well as being an important part of modern culture, the internet is also a tool that can facilitate our personal and professional lives in innumerable ways. But having the ability to use the net doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous too. The anonymity of web browsing means there are plenty of opportunities for nefarious individuals to track us down, pose as us and worse than all of this – take advantage of us in a way that could ruin not just their reputation but our own too. Luckily though, if you keep your wits about you online activities, there are many simple things you can do to make your browsing safer without restricting yourself from getting the full benefits of using the internet as much as possible.
Secure Your Devices
Safeguarding your identity online is a whole lot easier when you protect your devices too. It starts with ensuring that your device has the latest software updates and keeping it up to date. If you’re using a desktop computer, ensure that you have enough security to stop any unwanted intrusions into your system and make sure all of your passwords are secure. Make sure that you have a good password management system in place and never share them with anyone outside of close family members or friends.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the easiest ways you can make your internet browsing safer. This means using a password and a second, physical form of identification such as a fingerprint or retinal scan, in order to log into your account. The reason it’s so important to use MFA is that the extra layer of security makes sure that even if someone else guesses your password, they won’t be able to log into your account without also having access to their physical ID. This makes it harder for hackers to take over accounts for nefarious purposes. Having said that, because MFA is an extra step for every login, it does mean you need to remember another password and have access to the aforementioned physical ID too. But when used correctly and consistently, MFA will make your online life much safer.
Don’t Share Unnecessary Information
One of the most common ways that people are put at risk online is by sharing personal information on social media. It’s not just sharing your location or name that can endanger you online, though. Sharing too much personal information about yourself or someone else puts everyone at risk. So, we don’t recommend sharing any unnecessary information with anyone on social media and especially not in public spaces like chat rooms and comment sections.
Report Suspicious Activity
If you’re worried about someone being able to track you or impersonate you online, it’s important that you report anything suspicious. You should always be careful of people trying to use the internet against you. If something doesn’t feel right, your gut instinct is probably telling you it is not the person you think it is. To report suspicious activity on any website, simply navigate to the “report abuse” option from the bottom of any webpage and fill in all relevant information that will help identify the individual who may have been doing something nefarious. This includes their name, email address and phone number for instance. Once completed, send this information to the website that has a history of being abused and they will work with the authorities to investigate what happened.
Safeguard Your Data
The first step to making your browsing safer is to make sure you have the right safeguards in place. The way you do this is by protecting your personal data on any devices that might be used for browsing. If you have data stored on a computer, phone or tablet, then make sure to use password protection and encryption software. This will ensure that your device isn’t cracked open by hackers and personal information is safe from prying eyes.
To stay safe online, a good way to start is by securing your devices, using multi-factor authentication, and reporting suspicious activity. If you are using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, report the network to your local authorities.