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Using The Internet Safely

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By Tanya Jacobs

Learning to Use the Internet Safely

Many consider the internet to be the greatest invention in modern history, and it’s not difficult to see why. For the first time ever, we have a global platform that allows us to not just communicate with people all over the world, but to read articles, watch videos, play video games, make purchases, and so much more.

The internet is generally seen as one of the more positive aspects of our modern world.

But like with all things, the internet isn’t wholly good, especially in an age where identify theft and cyber espionage make headlines often enough to make people feel unsafe.

And while there is certainly a large amount of uninformed news and falsified stats out there, it is also true that there are plenty of cybercriminals browsing the web, looking for new people to rip off. The first step we can take in protecting ourselves is by learning a few handy tips and tricks that can make your internet experience that much safer.

1. Password Strengthening

One of the biggest problems that users face in terms of online security is password breach, and there’s a very good reason for that. A study conducted by SplashData has shown that the number one most-used password in the world is “123456”, followed by just the word, “password”.

There is very little emphasis put on how important it is to have a strong password, and not just one. A common mistake users make is having a single password for all their accounts, making it that much easier for a hacker to breach further into your life than would otherwise be possible.

To remedy this, try and have one password for account, and try and make the passwords as varied as possible. Adding numbers, random capitalisation, and using words that don’t exist in the dictionary are all good ways of improving your passwords.

Spyware is covertly downloaded software to obtain information about a computer's activities by transmitting data from their hard drive. Check this spyware guide to learn how to prevent this occurring.

2. Be Careful What You Click

This is a tip that spans back to the days of unsafe emails, but it still holds true to this day. There exists a technique called phishing, which is used to infiltrate entire networks, usually within offices, where computers and servers are all connected.

A phishing attack usually comes in the form of an email with an attachment, which launches the malware as soon as the attachment is opened. It’s a deceivingly simple yet chaotic way to breach a network, and all the more reason to always make sure you know what you’re clicking before you click it.

3. Avoid Public Computers

Like the above, this is an issue that isn’t quite as prevalent as it once was thanks to portable technology, but it’s still one worth remembering.

Public computers tend to be the least safe in terms of firewalls and anti-viruses, mostly since they’re not as well looked after as personal computers.

Internet cafes are known for having spyware or keyloggers installed by previous users that match all the words that you type on the computer. If it’s necessary that you use one, it’s a good idea to have the software you need, such as Tor or Psiphon, which can help you make use of the computer without becoming a target.

These VPN software solutions assist the user in browsing, playing real slots NZ, and so much more, without being accessible by a third party.

4. Make Use of Anti-Virus

Anti-virus software comes in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part they all work the same, as long as it comes from a reputable company. While there are a huge variety of different paid options to choose from, there are just as many free versions that will provide basic protection against most known threats.

But above all, having modern, up to date anti-virus on your computer is the first step to taking your security into your own hands, and paramount to ensuring that you are safe from common cyber threats.

5. Avoid Trackers

If you’ve visited any website, you will have noticed that a pop-up will come across the screen telling you that the site saves certain information in the form of cookies. While not inherently malicious in nature, cookies give third parties the chance to learn a lot about you.

Such information as your location and other online activity can be saved with these cookies, and they’re often best avoided altogether.

The best way to go about this is by checking through your browser’s privacy settings and finding the option that covers cookies.

Disallowing the creation of cookies means that websites in the future won’t be able to take any information about you and save it – which can turn out extremely positive for you in the long-run, especially as large data breaches become more prevalent in coming years.

Tanya Jacobs is a former sports journalist, now blogging about all things wellness. An avid hiker, she's climbed some of the tallest peaks in the world, survived a shipwreck, and camped in Yosemite for a month. Now a digital nomad, Tanya and her partner share their home in California with a cheeky cat named Eliot.
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