Trying to stay safe online these days can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. Everyone and their mother, it seems, is out to get you. You might think this is an exaggeration but here’s a quick example that illustrates that point. Have you ever accidently clicked on a popup ad? You probably think it’s harmless, but you might be surprised. Popup ads often include automatic download software. This means the ad will download something onto your computer without asking you permission first. Are you starting to see the problem? That download could be anything from a trojan virus to a program that you never wanted. And some sites have automated popups as well. If you’ve ever streamed a video from a third party site, you’ve probably seen more ads than you care to mention.
The good news is that you may have lost the battle, but you don’t have to surrender the war. There are ways to stay safe online using the latest tech, software and a little insider knowledge. So, let’s get started by thinking about passwords.
What’s The Password?
Most online companies actively encourage their users and customers to pick passwords that are complex and difficult to guess. They might include capital letters, numbers, symbols and goodness knows what else. You probably find this annoying and to save time, use the same password for every profile online. This is a massive mistake because if they have one of your passes they’ll quickly have them all. Instead, as annoying as it might sound, you should have a separate pass for all accounts or at least ones that contain sensitive information.
You might also want to think about avoiding including personal info in those passwords. Anything like a family name or a birthday is a big no no. This is the type of information that a clever hacker can get from your Facebook account and we’ll talk more about that a little further down. If you’re worried about your password, you can test its safety online. This should give you peace of mind. Although, we’re not entirely convinced it’s not just a very clever way to get a lot of passwords.
Am I Anonymous?
No, you never are online. Anything you do online can be tracked, viewed and seen by a variety of different people. The big one is the government. The government has the ability to see what you’re doing online without you ever knowing. Now, you might not worry too much about this possibility at all. Particularly, if you’ve never even thought about breaking the law online. But it’s not just the government that can break through. Anyone who understands how networks work might be able to access your computer by using the server you are using. That’s why you might want to think about looking at services from a company like CheapWindowsVPS. A VPS is a virtual private server, and it’s very useful. Basically, this means that your server is now encrypted and hidden. The signal is bounced around, triangulated and protected. No one can get in that you haven’t personally provided access to.
It is by far one of the best ways to protect yourself online, and that’s not the only advantage. A VPS also provides you with your own space online to play around with which means it can be used for a variety of purposes from playing games to surfing the web.
Using Social Media
You might love the idea that people can find you simply by typing your name in online. Finding you is one thing, but no one should be able to find lots of personal info on you just by typing in your name. That’s why you should keep things like your birthday, your address, your dog’s name, your kid’s name and anything similar off social profile. Or, make sure your privacy settings are on full. If you don’t do this, it’s ridiculously easy for criminals to get info they can used against you. Don’t forget, security questions for financial info are often things like DOB and lines from your address. If hackers have this, there’s no telling what they can do.
And privatizing your account might not be the answer either. If you privatize it all a criminal needs to do is gain access by a friend request or a follow. Once they’ve done this, they’ll be able to see all the info that you share with friends, and that could be quite a substantial amount.
Sending Info Online
There’s a general rule with emails. Don’t send anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying out loud in the middle of the street. That means you shouldn’t share financial info or anything that is sensitive and useful. Emails are not as secure as they seem and countless accounts have been hacked in the past. The most recent scandal was millions of decrypted accounts being stolen from Yahoo. After accessing these accounts, criminals were able to use any and all the info in the emails.
If you are using emails to send anything like financial information, make sure you delete the content. And check that the person on the other end has done the same thing. Otherwise, in a few months, you might find that you have been the victim of financial fraud. It’s a lot more common than most people realize.
Of course, there is another way you can be the victim of fraud online. You might be one of the parties involves in an unsecured transaction. Always think twice about buying a product from a website that you don’t know. Many websites don’t have security features in place, and as a result of this, their customers are always vulnerable. Make sure you check reviews online before buying from a new source. You should also look for evidence that they allow secure transactions. Generally speaking, any business offering PayPal usage is secure enough to trust.
There are a lot of threats online that you need to be aware of. But if you take this advice you can avoid the worst of them and keep your family and your finances safe.