Safe Surfing

Safe Surfing: Browsing the Web Securely

The internet may feel like the Wild Wild West at times, but your online security does not have to be up for grabs. With some simple tips and tricks, you can browse and surf more safely to protect your privacy and maintain control of your data. Read on cowboy to learn how to avoid getting bucked off by cyber threats and how to have a Safe Surfing!


Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to surf the web privately and anonymously by encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP address and location. VPNs help prevent snoopers from seeing what sites you visit and the info you transmit. They also allow access to region-restricted content. Choose a reputable provider and enable the VPN before browsing to surf more securely.

vpn

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security beyond your password that makes accounts harder to hack. 2FA requires you to enter a randomly generated code from another device, like your phone, when logging in. So even if a password is compromised, accounts stay protected. Enable 2FA on important logins like email, financial, and social media accounts.

Check Site Security

Before entering personal info, check that sites use secure HTTPS connections with SSL certificates. Look for the padlock icon in the URL bar and “https” at the beginning of the web address. This shows your connection is encrypted. Avoid entering sensitive data on unsecured “http” sites which are vulnerable to snooping.

Avoid Phishing Scams

Don’t take the bait from phishing scams aimed at stealing passwords and financial info. Be suspicious of emails and messages requesting personal details or asking you to verify account info by clicking links. Hover over suspect links to preview destinations before clicking. And avoid entering login credentials on sites you access via links—instead, navigate directly via your browser.

Phishing

Use Strong Passwords

strong password

Weak passwords leave you vulnerable to hacking, so it’s key to create strong unique ones using combinations of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a password manager to generate and store different complex passwords for each account. Enable password auto-fill to easily use strong unique passwords rather than reusing the same ones repeatedly.

Beware of Suspicious Links

Think before you click! Don’t download files or click links from sketchy sources that seem suspicious. When in doubt, confirm links are legitimate by cross-checking them against official sources. Also, be cautious about accessing links sent via social media messages and chat apps from unknown users. If something seems fishy, your senses are probably right.

Update Your Software

Maintaining current software, browser, and operating system updates helps patch security flaws hackers exploit. Enable auto-updates on your devices and software to ensure vulnerabilities get fixed before cyber criminals can capitalize on them. Also, remove unused programs and apps that can create additional weak points in your system if unpatched.

auto-updates

Be Wary of Public WiFi

Public WiFi

Public WiFi networks in places like cafes and airports come with risks since traffic isn’t encrypted. Avoid accessing sensitive accounts or data like banking and email via public WiFi. Stick to general browsing on public networks and save financial tasks for safe connections. Also, be aware of shoulder surfers around you who could peek at your screen.

Clear Cookies and Cache

Browsing history, cached files, and cookies can reveal your online activity and patterns. Make it a habit to periodically clear this data from your browser to protect privacy. Private browsing modes also limit history and data tracking during a session. Managing cookies, cache, and history helps prevent this info from being collected and sold by third parties.

Use a Secure Browser

Mainstream browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari have privacy settings to disable tracking and data collection. But more secure options like Tor and DuckDuckGo provide anonymous browsing by limiting cookie tracking and hiding user data. Research different browsers to find one aligned with your privacy priorities.

Safe surfing comes down to being cautious and proactive. But don’t let security intimidate you from reaping the benefits of internet access! Follow these tips to protect your cyber self while still enjoying what the online world has to offer. With some secure savviness, you can ride the waves of the web while avoiding a wipeout. Stay vigilant and happy safe surfing!


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to access my bank account on public WiFi?

In general, it’s not recommended to access highly sensitive accounts like banking and email via public WiFi since the network traffic is vulnerable to snooping. Only use trusted secure networks for financial logins and transactions.

What’s the downside of using a public computer for browsing?

Public computers may have spyware or keylogging software that tracks what you type. They could also have malware that infects your own devices when you connect them. It’s best to avoid using public computers for accessing sensitive info and stick to your trusted device.

Is incognito or private browsing secure?

Incognito/private modes prevent browser history, cache, and cookies from being saved locally during that session. But this data can still be monitored by the network and your activity isn’t hidden from sites you visit. A VPN provides fuller browsing anonymity.

Can deleted cookies be recovered?

Yes, cookies you manually delete can potentially be recovered by sites since removing only flags them for future deletion. The data may persist until overwritten by new cookies. To prevent this, make sure to also clear the cache which forces deleted cookies to be overwritten sooner.

What are signs my device may be infected with malware?

Unusual pop-ups, a suddenly slow device, crashes, unwanted programs at startup, and high data or battery usage can all be signs of malware. Run scans with an antivirus program and avoid clicking suspicious links or downloads to keep devices infection-free.

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