About 64.6% of the global population, an estimated 5.18 billion people, use the internet globally. An estimated 4.8 billion people of the world’s population use one or more social media. While the stats constantly change, it shows how much the internet is integral to everyday life. It serves as a communication medium and provides a borderless platform for various businesses.

While the benefits and possibilities are endless, it is not without risk. Undoubtedly, many shady activities occur online, like internet scams. Hackers use malware, phishing, and other approaches to lure users into revealing sensitive information without their knowledge. Therefore, it is vital to review your habits, as this article provides information about some current best practices for users.

Only use Secure Sites and Apps

One of the easiest ways to spot a secure site is to look for the padlock icon or check if it has a secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Meanwhile, a considerable difference exists between having “HTTP” and “HTTPS” which are crucial internet security elements. The “s” represents an integration of Solid Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layers Security protocols.

Clicking on the icon gives an overview of the level of security compliance. It provides information about whether the site has a valid security certificate or not if the site uses cookies, and options to manage it. A secure site ensures there is no unauthorized third-party access which is critical in safeguarding user data.

Across different industries, many sites are created to scam users. This is common in e-commerce business, finance, social media, and online gaming. For instance, there are hundreds of unlicensed casino sites that do not have valid licenses or meet security compliance. So, if you love to play online, it is best to find safe pokies apps that integrate these security protocols. 

These apps are tested and allow users to make safe real money deposits without any fear. The same goes if you are an avid online shopper. You want to be sure the app or site you’re using is legit, considering you will be making payments and disclosing your bank information.  

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

One of the many mistakes people make is opting for passwords they can easily remember. Many users prefer to adopt information from their names, dates of birth, or something they can personally relate to. Unfortunately, it makes it easy for anyone to figure out the password, which may result in unauthorized access. 

While most sites allow a minimum of 6 characters, it is better always to make it longer, preferably up to 12 characters. Another option is to make it complex rather than using a simple noun (name or place). Integrate upper and lower case, alphabets, numbers, and special symbols. For example, a simple password might be “johnson1998”. It is easy for anyone to guess it to be the person’s name and date of birth. However, a complex password like “J()h@st73/9g” would be difficult to guess.

Adopt Multiple Factor Authentication (MFA)

A strong and complex password is not enough to guarantee your online safety, especially if the device has uncontrolled access. Most users save their passwords on the site or use dedicated apps which third parties can access. Hence, enabling Multiple Factor Authentication (MFA) for an additional layer of security is crucial.

For instance, when shopping online on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, you may not need to enter a password each time. However, before checking out an item from your cart, you must provide the card information and pin. Afterward, the site sends a unique code to your email or phone number for final processing. To avoid unnecessary access when using such platforms online, it is crucial to activate MFA.

Use only secure public Wi-Fi networks

Especially in public, always avoid unsecured Wi-Fi that does not require password access. Hackers can access your account when you log in to their network. So, the next time you see free Wi-Fi that is not protected, you might want to stay away. Even when you do for any reason, ensure you do not access sites that request relevant personal and banking information that could leave you vulnerable.

Use Antivirus and Firewall protection

In today’s digital world, one of the many ways to stay protected is to get a firewall against malicious software. Antiviruses act as a shield that monitors data transmission offline and online to prevent unauthorized access. Malware is becoming very popular and challenging to detect. Hence, never use the internet without an antivirus on your device.

Avast, Norton, AVG, Bitdefender, and Malwarebytes are the most popular antimalware software. Why they are not free to use, you can always try the free version or get additional tech tips from personal research. 

Be cautious of Phishing and Irrelevant links

Wikipedia.com gives more details about how Phishing is a widespread type of cyber-attack where hackers attempt to lure online users into revealing sensitive information or granting access to restricted accounts. The most common route is via email. The message replicates formal inquiries from reputable organizations, primarily banks, retailers, and e-commerce platforms. It usually contains a call to action instructing users to download an app, click on a link, fill out a form, or provide sensitive information.

Attackers can gain access once a user takes the bait and interacts in any way. This has resulted in many identity theft issues, financial fraud, and other related issues. Even more, the users have no idea about this unauthorized access, so it is crucial to be cautious before clicking any irrelevant links.

Conclusion

One of the many ways to stay safe while using the internet is to stay updated with the latest happenings. The internet is packed with lots of information and tools that can be helpful and harmful at the same time. It is vital to integrate a systematic approach to help you stay safe. It includes using strong and unique passwords, MFA, antivirus, and other healthy practices.

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