The Internet plays a very big role in the lives of billions of people in the United States and many other countries around the globe. With each passing year, it appears that more people are spending more of their time online as they enjoy all of the exciting opportunities and activities that the World Wide Web puts at their fingertips. While the benefits of Internet access are undeniable, there are a few negative aspects associated with life in this virtual domain that cannot be overlooked. The threats posed to the personal security and financial resources of Web users are among the factors which prompt the formulation and adherence to various lists of Internet safety tips.
The good Internet and bad people
Many of the dangers present on the Internet are not inherent features of this very important online space. The vast majority of these threats result from the nefarious actions of unscrupulous individuals who are intent on exploiting the resource to further their own selfish objectives. Pedophiles, identity thieves, hackers, and various other types of criminals are all very active on the World Wide Web. They harness its power and incredible reach to snag many people in their net. The rampancy of these predators makes it very critical to ensure that personal online safety protocols are put into effect by all individuals who venture onto the World Wide Web – whether for business or for pleasure. The following quintet of Internet safety tips should be adhered to by everyone:
- Build a wall of protection around your computer
Installing software which provides effective malware protection is crucial in the fight against the various threats floating around on the World Wide Web. Every time that a user goes online without the appropriate antivirus protection to defend their machine they put their computing device and the data that is stored thereon at risk of being damaged or corrupted by a virus, worm, Trojan horse, or another of these malicious programs. Additionally, they expose it to being infiltrated by spyware. This infection can allow someone to remotely surveil the activities of the owner of the device while discretely mining their data. There are many free and low-cost antiviral protection options out there that can significantly boost computer security.
- Be careful how much information you reveal on social media
The various social media platforms in existence today play a very significant role in the lives of numerous people. In fact, there are many individuals who spend more time conversing with their friends and family members on these forums than they do interacting with people face-to-face. Admittedly, these activities can prove to be very fulfilling for the many people who routinely engage in them. However, there are also many threats that such a lifestyle can introduce into the life of the person who spends a significant part of their day in this way. This is due to the fact that social media is one of the favorite haunts of Internet criminal. They spend a lot of time in these spaces trying to see how much unprotected personal information they can seize to further their identity theft rackets.
Combating the abovementioned threat requires the “netizen” to ensure that they do not divulge sensitive personal information in the various postings that they make on these sites. Details pertaining to one’s home address, telephone number, and/or e-mail address are among the items of information which should not be published in these domains.
- Ensure that all passwords are strong and unique
This is one of the most important Internet safety tips. There are many people who imperil the safety of themselves and their sensitive information by overlooking it though. It is understandable that many people see it as a tremendous hassle to remember all of the passwords that they are required to provide when signing up for membership with the various websites they want to join. However, this activity is crucial to maintaining the integrity of all the highly personal information which is detailed in the profiles that individuals are often required to create as a prerequisite for membership. Coming up with complex passwords will serve as a sufficient deterrent to keep out most opportunistic account hackers.
- Ensure the Internet connection is secure
Many people rely on wireless connections to gain access to the World Wide Web. While this is an extremely convenient option, it does heighten the risk that the integrity of the sensitive information stored on their computing device may be violated by an unauthorized individual who manages to log on to the network. Password protecting the personal network is key. When using public networks, there are various programs which can be installed that assess the safety of a network before allowing the user to proceed. These are some of the measures which can be employed to maintain Internet privacy.
- Shop only at secure websites
Americans charge billions – if not trillions – of dollars worth of purchases on their credit cards annually. A significant percentage of these buys are done via the websites of the many goods and services providers which make e-commerce possible. However, the security mechanisms utilized by these sites varies. There are some that provide greater protection to the personal financial information of customers than others. Shopping with a trusted retailer which invests in the security of their customers’ financial transactions is critical to avoiding many of the fraud issues that can potentially arise.
It is virtually impossible to be totally safe on the Internet. However, there are a number of measures which can be employed to increase the level of protection that is enjoyed online.