3 Online Safety Tactics to Practice Every Day
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Did you log in to your social media accounts today? Did you turn your laptop off after you were finished scrolling? If not, you could be leaving yourself open to online hackers and criminals, but you certainly not alone. The internet has become such a ubiquitous part of everyday life that most people tend to take their online safety for granted, which can have some serious consequences. So if you want to change your own online behavior and keep your online activity safe from criminals and hackers, here are some best practices you should follow.
Protect Your Passwords and Private Information
All too many people choose passwords that are simple for them to remember. Whether it’s the name of a pet or the birthday of a child, commonly used passwords may be easy to recall, but they are also extremely easy for online hackers to figure out. So to protect protect your private info, try to use more complex passphrases instead of simple passwords. You can still choose something that is easy to remember, like a song lyric or favorite quote, but opting for a phrase can make it much more difficult for cybercriminals to access email, bank and other online accounts that contain valuable private information.
In addition to being more careful with password creation, you should also avoid storing passwords around your computer, since that can entice criminals to steal your laptop and easily access sensitive accounts. Turning off your devices after logging out can also help protect your accounts and online information. Finally, know what to do if your online information is compromised and you become an identity-theft victim. Acting quickly to notify merchants and credit bureaus is your best defense against more costly damage.
Keep Your Social Media Accounts More Secure
Interacting with friends on social media can be fun, but you also need to ensure you’re not accidentally interacting with more shady online personalities. Social media safety is one of the most critical ways to protect yourself online, since social media can be a mecca for cybercriminals. So when you create or log in to your social media accounts, check the privacy settings and consider setting them so that only people you actually know can connect with you online.
As with all other accounts, you should also safeguard your username and password by not using them to access third-party applications, and changing your passwords on a regular basis. If you do maintain public social media profiles, you should also take extra care with posting personal information, even when it seems harmless. For example, it may seem exciting to let your followers know you’ve just left the country on vacation, but criminals use these types of disclosures to target empty homes and even target individuals. Also note that your social media posts can impact your employment, so always be careful with posts and comments.
Prevent Yourself From Falling for Email Scams
Cybercriminals love targeting online users via email, and they often use email scams to trick people into revealing private information or passwords or even sending sums of money. While some phishing attempts are pretty obvious (like the Nigerian prince scam that promises millions), others can actually be more challenging to spot. Some folks can easily be tricked into buying fake concert tickets, while others may actually think that their favorite celebrity is reaching out to them.
Honestly, it can be all too easy to fall for these scams, so don’t think that you are immune. Because one wrong click or careless mistake could end up costing you time, stress, or money. In fact, the City of Atlanta was held hostage by a series of sophisticated ransomware attacks that ended up costing over $2.6 million in recovery expenses. So just remember, if Atlanta can fall prey to an email scam, it can most certainly happen to you and cause chaos in your life.
Don’t let a simple mistake online cost you big time. Practice some basic Internet and information safety every single time you hop online and always take the time to protect yourself from scammers and criminals. Those extra steps can save you some serious hassle in the future.