Security Alert: 4 Ways to Ensure Online Safety
The Internet has afforded us numerous benefits that if we all imagine a life without it, we would have instant images of pure chaos in our mind. How will we find information for our school papers or projects without the World Wide Web? We would have to browse through various books at the library, which is time-consuming and we would not be able to meet our due dates. How can we connect with family friends who have moved to another city or country? We would have to rely on long-distance calls and worse, snail mail.
However, as the saying goes, every rose has its thorn. While the Internet gives us the information we need and connects us with people by merely a few clicks, it also poses risks to our privacy and security if we are not careful. So how can we reap the benefits of the Net while staying safe? Here are 4 pointers to keep in mind:
Set limits on social media.
It’s ironic, yes, but being on social media doesn’t obligate you to be “social” with everyone who interacts with you on those websites. You should set boundaries on whose posts you like or make comments to, who you accept as friends or followers, or whose private messages or direct messages we reply to. If someone unknown messages you on Facebook or Instagram, check if you have mutual friends first; if not, avoid interacting with that person.
Also, ensure that you are not on a public setting when you post a photo or any sensitive information. Most social media have custom settings now to help you set to whom your posts are visible to.
Go for complex passwords and keep them updated.
We’ve all been there. We forgot a password for an email or a website, and so we ended up choosing one simple password applicable to every account. This must be avoided at all costs as it can compromise everything that you log into. Always have different passwords for every account and change them at least once a month or every two months.
Some people keep a list of their passwords on their phones or notebooks, but imagine if you misplace or lose these too? In this case, you really have to put your memory to good use. No ifs and buts about it. How do you remember all of them if you log into 10 or 20 sites per day? Set a theme of passwords per each month, like your favourite movie stars this month or your favourite TV shows next month.
Be wary of free WiFi.
Who does not want free stuff? One of the things that we welcome especially if we are under a limited data plan is free WiFi in establishments like malls and coffeeshops. However, while saving money is good, it turns bad when it leads to causing trouble to our security or privacy.
A great way to enjoy free WiFi is to limit your use to browsing websites. If you really can’t help logging into your email or social media app while using free WiFi, ensure that you log out or sign out. Sure, it takes a bit of work and effort, but when you think of doing it to protect you, you will know it is necessary. The same is true when using public computers.
Don’t be click-happy.
You know those links that can reveal your spirit animal or your celebrity lookalike? Well, they are popular in social media accounts. However, they tend to be harmful especially if they lead to another link that asks for your email address and other private information.
While it is fun to know who your celebrity lookalike is, it is not worth compromising your online identity for. Avoid clicking on these links, and go instead for legit apps.
The Internet is a blessing to our lives, but misuse of it can lead to a curse we certainly don’t want. The next time you go online, keep the above tips in mind and you’ll have a safe online cruise.
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