Most likely, you, your family, and your job all use the internet for lots of things. We use it for work meetings, shopping, and more. The internet is a big part of our lives, and it’s a bit like the future that science fiction writers like Asimov, Bradbury, and Roddenberry imagined.
But, there’s a problem. Even though we have cool technology, there are also some bad things happening online. Both at home and in companies, there are more and more cyber threats. These threats are like hidden dangers that can harm us. Especially when we connect more devices to our home networks, and bad people get better at doing cyber attacks.
In 2023, it’s even more risky. Here’s how you can stay safe online this year and in the future.”
1. Understanding Basic Threats
Part of keeping yourself safe online comes down to education. Understanding the nature of primary online threats is crucial. Take the concept of phishing, for example. In this scenario, attackers can compromise your information by convincing you that a message or email is legitimate. They’re also websites that deliver surreptitious drive-by downloads containing malware. You can also get malware from various downloads online or even have your browser hijacked if you’re not careful. That’s why using security software is vital and should be a regular part of your cybersecurity routine.
2. Using Encryption
Besides learning about online threats, you should also take simple steps to stay safe online, like using encryption. Encryption can be as easy as using a virtual private network (VPN) or encryption services from security companies
Encryption is like turning your data into a secret code that others can’t read. It helps keep your information safe. But be careful because even bad people can use encryption. Ransomware is a common threat that uses encryption to lock your data and asks for money to unlock it. When you encrypt your files, it can protect you from malware like ransomware and keep your online activities private and secure.
3. Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor and multi-factor authentication are important for staying safe online. With two-factor authentication, you first enter your password to log in. Then, you get a special code through text or email. You put that code in to finish logging in. This makes it harder for bad people to get into your accounts.
Two-factor authentication keeps your login info safe and makes it hard for hackers to use it. Multi-factor authentication is like that too, but it gives you more choices. You can use email, a special app, phone calls, or other ways to stay safe when you log in.
4. Password Management
Everyone knows the pain of dealing with long, complex, and annoying passwords. They’re necessary for protecting private data, yet they can be challenging to remember. Unfortunately, passwords are one of the most commonly cracked and stolen pieces of data. As a result, people generally don’t use strong passwords. It would help if you had a robust mix of capital, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for the best passwords. Passphrases are also quite valid to ward off potential attackers, at least according to the FBI.
Whatever you do, please don’t write your passwords down in a place where somebody else can access them. Taking the time to ensure your passwords are strong, complicated, and complex enough that nobody can crack them goes a long way to guard you online. It’s also a good idea to consider using a password manager or security software that handles password management for you. Most security/antivirus suites will offer password managers, but plenty of a la carte options, like LastPass, suit any user’s needs.
5. Don’t Open Emails from People You Don’t Know
If you receive an email from someone you don’t recognize and it has a suspicious attachment, don’t download it. Some attachments can secretly install bad software on your computer without your permission. Even if it looks like a regular update or a simple question, it’s best to avoid opening emails from unfamiliar addresses.
6. Antivirus Security Software
Having good software to keep your computer safe is important. You should look for software that does many things, like protecting your passwords, scanning for viruses, and more. It’s a good idea to get software that has lots of tools to keep you safe on the internet. These tools can help protect your family, find viruses, stop bad software, warn you about ransomware, and spot dangers on the web. The best software can be used on different devices and won’t cost too much. Taking care of your own online security is really important, especially when you want to keep yourself and your family safe on the internet
7. Be Cautious with Strange-Looking Links
Viruses and other bad software can spread when you click on links, even if they come from people you trust. If you get a link that looks strange, like having mistakes in it, check with your friend or family member to make sure they meant to send it. It might take a bit longer to see that funny video, but it’s safer to be careful.
8. Strengthen Your Online Account Security
The password you pick is like a shield that protects your personal info in your accounts. Make it long, avoid common words, and don’t use the same password everywhere.
To make things even safer, turn on multi-factor authentication if you can in your accounts
9. Enhance the Security of Your Home Wi-Fi Network
Your wireless network acts as the central hub connecting all your devices. To shield it from potential hackers, follow these steps:
- Encrypt your network.
- Change default passwords.
- Keep your network software up to date.
10. Be Careful About Sharing Personal Information
Sometimes, we might feel okay about telling too much about ourselves online. But it’s important to know that even a little bit of personal information can be used by bad people on the internet.
To stay safe, don’t tell strangers your full name, address, or money stuff. When making usernames for websites, it’s better not to use your real name. Also, don’t give away too much personal stuff when you fill out online surveys or forms. Usually, they don’t need your details to finish them.
11. Backup Your Data Regularly
If you ever get attacked by bad software like ransomware, your data could be locked, and you might not get it back. But if you regularly back up your data, it’s not such a big problem. If a hacker locks your data and asks for money to unlock it, you can just use the backup copy you made a week ago.
12. Keep Your Devices Updated
If your computer programs and web browsers don’t update automatically, make sure to turn on automatic updates. Updates often fix important security problems that could be harmful to your computer or devices.