Internet is a jungle mania where everybody is striving for survival and whoever is weak and vulnerable is getting attacked. To secure your information from the information-thirsty beasts online, make sure to implement the following best practices on your internet usage.
Most people think that keeping their personal information on social media publicly accessible will get them better following or lend them great jobs. That is not the case. All your personal information should be private, and not available to millions of users that are free to access your profile. Employers do not need your personal information but attackers do need information like contact number, email address, home address and list of your interests. This information will help them further dig up your financial information.
The internet has millions of websites and it is impossible for general public to guess which ones are created or compromised by attackers. Therefore, develop a habit of safe browsing and avoid visiting untrusted sites. Attackers can tempt users to visit malicious sites or clone sites in many ways, which may result in credential theft, information disclosure or infection of your device by a malware due to a careless click on something that apparently looked intriguing. By developing skeptical and careful surfing behavior, you can avoid falling into traps and pitfalls set by attackers. Moreover, ignore spam emails offering free trips and gifts and do not enter credentials on sites directed to by untrusted emails.
Public Wi-Fi connections are not secure. When you log-in anywhere using a public Wi-Fi, you cannot ensure secure connection. Therefore, accessing the internet through these vulnerable or outdated endpoints can infect your device. Additionally, it is suggested to use secure VPN (virtual private network) connection to ensure safe internet browsing. VPNs are used to establish secure connections between device of usage and an Internet server, which cannot be monitored or accessed by malicious entities.
One of the most used tactics by attackers to target your information is to deploy malware that steals information from your system. Attackers trick users into downloading malicious files that are either attached in a phishing email or are available on a malicious website you’re tricked into visiting. The malware may appear in the form of an app or a game. Therefore, users should never download anything from untrusted sources on the internet like untrusted emails or websites that offer illegal or unlicensed software, leaked videos of popular shows, as well as adult content.
Weak or repeated passwords are one of the most common exploits for attackers. Most users tend to use the same passwords on multiple platforms or they use very easy passwords to ensure remembering them. People with malicious intent can guess these passwords. The problem with repeated passwords is that, if it’s leaked or breached from one source, all other accounts using the same password are breached. Most websites therefore set a requirement of strong passwords, mixing alphabet with numbers and special characters. Users may use a password management software to manage all different passwords.
Your most wanted information for attackers is your financial information, like credit card or bank account information. With e-commerce trending more than ever before, users tend to make online purchases from various websites. While making such a purchase, it is suggested to make sure that the website provides secure, encrypted connection and only enter such confidential data on websites from which you genuinely want to make the purchase. One way of identifying secure websites is by their address, beginning with HTTPS rather than HTTP, or by the padlock icon appearing before their addresses in the address bar. Additionally, most sites demand credit card information in advance for potential future purchases and should not be provided so, unless needed.
Much of your information can be stolen by gaining a foothold on your system by exploiting the vulnerabilities in outdated browsers. These can also be used as entry point or for malware deployment by attackers. It is recommended to always use a reputable and secure browser and to always keep it updated to latest versions, as those are patched against known vulnerabilities.
Make sure to use an up-to-date antivirus software on your system. It will generate alerts and remove most malware coming from the internet. Also, keep your operating system and other applications updated. This provides added security layer as updated software contains patches for most vulnerabilities.
Your browsing history and social media usage information is sold online for marketing purposes if you don’t have the correct privacy settings in place. It is therefore easy for attackers to get hold of this information. It is best practice to limit the availability of your information through strict privacy settings both on mobile and desktop browsers. Users should utilize these privacy enhancement measures and settings available in most social media sites as well as in web browsers, by keeping them enabled.
By following these simple internet safety rules, users can avoid most of the malicious threats coming from the internet. While other advanced security measures are required for maintaining a strong cyber security posture, these little everyday secure browsing habits are often the key to thwarting vulnerability and contribute to a secure environment. These practices minimize entry points for the attackers to access your system.