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Internet Safety Tips for the Average User

Most people online need Internet safety tips that are easy to understand and follow all the time. This article will look to do that, it can apply to your children just as easily as it does to teens and grown ups. If you’re tired of finding nothing but Internet safety tips for the young ones, here’s one for the rest of us!

Make sure your computer is clean

Update your browser: I know, no one likes bothering with all of these downloads. But having the latest version of your web browser’s software is your first line of defence. Most updates are specifically for new Internet safety needs in relation to malware and viruses.

Automate updates for important software: Turning on automatic updates on your most trusted apps and programs protects you before you know you need to be protected.

Protect more than your computer: Your desktop is an easy one to want protected, but what about your smartphone, tablet, and gaming system? They’re all vulnerable and they all need Internet safety precautions too.

Plug and scan: USBs that you don’t own are able to infect your system with malware, be sure to scan them for malware when you plug them in using the appropriate software. Here’s a list of good USB scanners.

Keep personal information personal

Two-step verification: Using Two-step authentication will help secure your personal information behind two passwords. This helps websites verify that you are, well, you by connecting your account to your smartphone via SMS. Here’s a list of websites which use 2FA that you can use when making decisions about what to join and use.

Create strong passwords: Relying on the same password, over and over, can lead to one man in the middle attack ruining your entire online life. Use a password management tool like LastPass to create a variety of strong passwords.

Write it down: Having a list of a few passwords that don’t exist in any digital form can keep your most important details, like bank sign in information, off the Internet entirely. Ye,s you have to keep these somewhere secure – not tacked onto your desk right next to the computer.

Change privacy settings: When you can, keep your online social profiles private. Often time all a hacker wants is a few details that they can connect together with other pieces of information to commit identity theft.

Don’t share EVERYTHING: Social media sites record more information from you than you may know. The more you share online the more opportunities there for someone, anyone, to come along and take that information.

Be careful with your connections

Don’t trust every link: You’ll find links on shoddy websites, in odd emails, and in advertising that will lead you to malware sites. If it doesn’t look right, don’t click the link!

WiFi is dangerous: WiFi hotspots are some of the most dangerous places for Internet safety. Protecting your connection with a VPN is highly recommended as it will encrypt your connection. Read about the best VPN providers on our list. Each one of them encrypts your data right from your computer, even your ISP can’t track you.

Banking apps: Online banking apps are super convenient – for you and hackers. Most have the bare minimum of Internet safety built into them. Always connect through the main website, and with your VPN, on a connection that you know to be secure.

HTTPS: Connecting to sites which use HTTPS makes sure that you have more security as they use an added layer of encryption. Try a tool like HTTPS Everywhere to force your browser to take you to these websites.

Use great Internet safety resources

Back up data: Protect your most valuable work, pictures of your family and friends, and other digital information by backing it up. Even if you lose everything in one place you’ll still have another version.

Keep informed: There are many Internet safety websites that work to keep you informed about what’s going on in the world of online safety …like this one! It also won’t hurt to do an Internet search for the latest news on security threats, but go to reliable resources and not someone’s Facebook post…

Report crimes: You can report online crimes to IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) and your local law enforcement. Just because it happens online doesn’t mean it has to stay online – a fraud online is a fraud offline too.

Internet safety tips don’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to learn how to hack, you just need to learn how to exist in today’s online environment. With the right tools, and keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll be safer member of the online community.

Feature image by Rallef / Shutterstock

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