The internet has done the world some amazing favors over the years. It is the one tool that has meant we are more connected with each other than ever before – whether in a professional sense or a personal sense. Social media means that everyone has a voice and a platform on which to share it, and we use the internet to buy and trade on too. But there is also a darker side to the web, one that can sometimes result in a breach of our personal security. Trained criminals can target individuals on the web, hacking into accounts, trolling them or in some cases, stealing information such as bank details. Of course, it is still very rare that any of this happens. But if you are not taking precautions to keep yourself safe online, you could be putting yourself at risk of target. Here are a few of the ways you can protect yourself on the web, as well as a few ways web security can be used to your own advantage.
Be cautious when downloading anything
There are plenty of completely safe, legitimate files and programs available to download from the internet. But on the other hand, certain files can contain harmful viruses that can attack your computer and steal information from you. In order to stay safe, always question anything you download online. If the download starts immediately in a pop-up, exit it as soon as possible; you should always be given a choice as to whether you make a download or not. Some websites also use adware, which can use your download information to send you adverts and spam from third parties. Not dangerous, but certainly a bit annoying!
Be aware of social media
Social media is a great tool, but it is something that can be easily used for harm just as it is used for good. Do a full check of all your social media – apps and all – to see whether you have public or private profiles. If your Twitter, for example, includes some things that you don’t want to share with the general public, you might want to consider making it private. Your online reputation can easily precede you, as it is simply so easy to Google someone these days and find out plenty about them. Check that there isn’t anything incriminating about your online presence. For example, you may wonder ‘do I have a warrant?’. You can check online whether there is anything negative or slanderous about you online and thus get it changed, keeping your reputation safe.
Log out of things when you are finished with them