Computer Security: How to Surf Safely

There has been a fast-growing number of Internet users in every part of the world. The Internet indeed brings many benefits to its users, from useful information to new sources of income. However, it also poses security risks related to crimes such as identity theft and blackmail. Hence, you should always use precautions when surfing the Internet to avoid falling victim to a malicious virus, spyware, and other threats. 

Check out our guide below on how to surf the internet safely:

Use a Firewall 

Whenever your computer is connected to a network or the internet, it is instantly exposed to various security risks. A firewall is a software program that monitors traffic between your computer and the Internet, and which helps to detect and provide warnings when you are accessing a high-risk website. In this way, a firewall acts as your computer’s first line of defence, which explains why you should install and always activate the firewall while surfing the internet. 

Use a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, is an effective tool to protect your computer security. There are many things to consider when choosing a VPN provider, but the important thing is that you choose one which keeps your computer networks safe. When you connect to the Internet, you should activate your VPN, as it will encrypt data from the sending end – your computer – and decrypt it at the receiving end, thus making data transmission much safer. VPNs also hide your computer’s network address and allow you to access websites that may be restricted by location. 

Beware of Fraudulent Websites

When surfing the web, you should be extra cautious when a site asks for your personal information. Most legitimate sites only ask you to register, but will not require your personal information. If it is the website of a bank or a financial institution, before entering your details and information, you should make sure the links are correct to avoid landing on fraudulent sites that have a similarly spelled address. These sites take advantage of people who misspell the institution’s name and use this scam to obtain their personal information.

Click with Caution

Many malware and Trojan horses are designed to steal your information. They are often disguised in an email or message, which asks you to click on links that will take you to fraudulent websites to solicit your personal information. The best way to avoid falling victims to these tricks is to not click on any link in an email or instant message from someone you don’t know or from an email address you don’t recognize. Even if it comes from someone you know, if you have concerns about the content of the message or the link, it’s best to check with the sender directly before clicking on the email or the link itself.  

Use Strong Passwords

People tend to use the same password for different accounts, as this makes things easier to remember. However, hackers can often crack short and simple passwords, so you should use strong passwords to protect your accounts and personal information. The strongest passwords usually include at least ten characters with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also never use the same password for all your bank accounts, or important accounts that can reveal your personal and financial information.

Update Security Software

Security software can go a long way in protecting your computer from harm. The threats are continually evolving, so you should regularly update your security software to make sure you have maximum protection from all current risks. The software can protect your computer from viruses, spyware, malware, and other types of threats. Once the software is installed, you should run scans regularly to ensure it detects and removes any harmful files from your computer. 

Shop with Caution

With the booming e-commerce industry and the convenience of shopping online, there also comes new security risks for consumers. When shopping on a website you’ve never used before, you should check the authenticity of the site, and look for security symbols such as the prefix “https” in front of the link, as it indicates the website is encrypted. If you have to use a card to pay for your purchase, it’s better to use a credit card than a debit card, as the credit card company can help you get a reimbursement for fraudulent charges.

The Internet has completely changed our lives, and whilst it has brought huge benefits, it has also exposed us to dangerous security risks. By following these tips on how to surf the Internet safely, you will minimize the risk of falling victim to fraudulent sites, viruses, and malware. Always be cautious when surfing the Internet, especially when you are asked for your personal information.

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