The Internet has become an integral part of our lives. According to a survey of over 10,000 people across five countries, the average daily time spent online is more than six hours. Of this total time spent, a major portion is on social media.
Apart from social media, online shopping is what people indulge in a lot. Furthermore, Covid-19 has drastically increased consumption of the Internet, since people are forced to socialize less and remain indoors.
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The Internet is a blessing but comes with its own dangers. With the rise in Internet penetration, there also has been an increase in cybercrimes and Internet frauds.
We are constantly sharing personal information over numerous platforms. Sometimes, people misuse this data, and you may be subjected to mental & financial damage.
Cyber safety is often ignored unless one falls victim to such criminal activities. However, being a little vigilant on the Internet can drastically reduce this risk.
Safe usage of the Internet consists of a few dos and don'ts that can easily be incorporated in daily surfing habits.
The most common way to steal information is to trick people into downloading malware. So be careful about what you download.
Do not open attachments from unknown people.
Pay extra attention to file extensions before clicking.
Download only from reputable sources and scan files for viruses before downloading.
If possible, always download from a site with an SSL certificate indicated by a HTTPS prefix in the web address. This shows that the website uses secure communication.
Social, email, and bank accounts are all protected by passwords. These passwords should be kept strong so that they cannot be hacked easily.
Many a time we keep personal data as passwords, like birth dates, names of family members or pets, etc. These can be easily guessed by anybody who has personal information about the account holder.
Combination passwords including texts, numbers, and characters are most secure.
Changing passwords at regular intervals is a great practice.
Passwords should not be repeated while changing.
For different accounts it is better to keep separate passwords.
Online buying is common nowadays. From fashion to groceries, everything is purchased through apps and websites. To make these payments, financial details are required, and this is where a lot of people end up losing money if they fail to be alert.
Always make payments on secure gateways, websites, and apps.
Any site that does not have a HTTPS certificate is not safe for monetary transactions.
Preferably, use credit cards for payments instead of bank accounts or debit cards.
Avoid financial transactions on public computers or networks. These are high-risk zones prone to hacking.
What you post online goes to the public domain. Hence, refrain from posting personal information. Any type of offensive or discriminatory content can invite unwanted outrage, resulting in cyberbullying.
Your browsing patterns and social media usage include sought-after information by both marketers and hackers. But you can protect yourself by utilizing the privacy settings options. All web browsers generally have settings available to protect online user privacy.
Most social media sites also enable users to keep their accounts restricted to friends, family, and connections. It is advisable to keep accounts private to the people you know.
Install robust anti-virus software in your devices for protection. Investing in reliable security software keeps your devices safe from possible virus attack. Also, the information is protected from hacking or getting erased.
Keep your browsers and systems updated. Some browsers have settings to alert users of fraudulent websites. Hence, it is imperative to install the latest versions of browsers and other critical programs on the devices.
The most important advice to be safe on the Internet is to use your common sense. Understand what looks dubious and might be harmful.
Remain alert and try not to be lured into a trap by disclosing important information for any benefit. Be patient and take that extra minute to check the authenticity of a link, website, or attachment that you plan to engage with.
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