April 10, 2024
The
internet is such a central part of our lives now, with all of our
correspondence via email and instant messaging and the ability to
purchase anything we need online. However, the ease that the internet
has introduced to our lives does not come without a cost. That cost?
Some of our privacy. Identity theft is not a rare incident and doesn’t
have to include a lost wallet. Today’s hackers and cyber criminals break
into personal email and social accounts and use information found there
to transfer money or blackmail others with it. 


There
are many ways to defend yourselves, but here are the 7 basic things you
need to do to avoid being easy targets, and they’re not hard to do, so
pass them along and make everyone safer. 

1. When Checking Email, Use the Browser’s ‘Incognito’ Mode

Incognito
Always go anonymous when doing this


When
you browse the web, information is stored on your browsing history,
images, videos and text in a folder called a ‘cache’. The cache stores
all the information about a certain webpage so that it loads faster the
next time you visit.

By
using the ‘incognito’ mode (available on Safari, Chrome, Internet
Explorer and Firefox), the information about your searching habits isn’t
stored and every time you visit the website will be the first time.
While there are certain upsides of allowing the website to suit itself
to you, there may be information, like your credit card or banking
details, that you don’t want the website to remember. This is the time
to switch on the ‘incognito’ function in your browser’s tools.



Tip: Try to carry out all online financial dealings (e.g. making a credit card purchase) on a secure page (look for the https instead
of the regular http). This gives you some protection from hackers,
but it doesn’t mean the site itself cannot keep your details. Most do so
only to confirm your identity.

Possible Websites that pay you for things you do for them ONLINE #2

2. Use a Passcode on Your Computer or Smartphone 

It’s
always a good idea to secure your devices with a password. Although you
may find this a nuisance, especially if you struggle to remember
passwords, it is important that you and only you have access to your
devices just in case they end up in the wrong hands. If your computer or
phone has a password, no one but you can access the information, even
if you lose it. So think of a simple password that will be easy enough
for you to remember and use it on your computer and phone. 

This simple
step could save you a lot of worry and headaches in the case that your
device is lost or stolen. 

Tip: Don’t forget, it’s better to just lose the device than lose the device AND the personal information you have stored on it.

3. Get in the Habit of Signing Out

When
you are using a social media site, or just your email account, it is
important that you remember to log or sign out after you’ve finished
using it.

This
will ensure that no one else can enter your account when you leave the
site or that your settings are not saved on the computer for the next
user. 

This is an especially important step for those that share their
computer with others or leave their computer at work or home. If you are
worried about forgetting your passwords and user names, write them down
in a safe and memorable place.

Tip: There are programs that are safe to use and remember your passwords for you, such as RoboForm.

4. Know What People Are Saying About You Online

If you
are worried about what others may be writing about you online, or want
to look out for a child or friend on the web, you can use a free service
called Google alerts. By setting a Google
alert with your name, every time something is said about you online, you
will be sent an alert to your inbox. It is simple to set up by going to
google.com/alerts

There, type in your name or any variations of it. You can choose how
often you’d like to be notified as well as what kinds of posts are
relevant to you.

Tip: Make sure you put quotations around your name so the search engine knows exactly what to look for (Example: “James Dean”).

5. Always Use Complex Passwords 

Employ Combinational technique

Probably
the most important tip on this list. Believe it or not, if someone gets
a hold of your username, it may be easier than you think to get a hold
of your password. A lot has been made of hackers being geniuses who
crack complex codes. The truth is, most of them are just very good at
guessing passwords or have made programs that do that for them. 

Your
best bet is to first, make sure that your passwords are different for
every site and that they aren’t too simple, like ‘1234’ or your
birthday. Instead, use a word that has no context to anyone but you (and
especially not something that can be found on your social profile) or
even a random string of letters and numbers (although of course those
are hard to remember).

Tip: A
great password is one that is easy to remember but uses unusual
characters, for example: “iSem0untain” instead of “ice-mountain”.

Read Also:- 5 Best Security Accessories for New MacBook Pro 2016

6. Check Your Privacy Settings 

While
they may be a bit confusing, it is important to check the privacy
settings of your social media and email accounts to make sure that you
aren’t sharing private information. This is important because many of
these sites change their privacy settings regularly (sometimes without
notifying you). 

If there is a setting you don’t understand, make sure to
look it up. You should know about all the privacy options available so
you can apply them when you need it most.

Tip: Make sure to read all the options carefully before choosing your desired level of security.

7. Clear Browser History

As
mentioned above, when you browse the web, information about the sites
you visited is saved in a ‘cache’, or file of all your internet
information. If you share a computer with your family or use it in a
public place (including your work), make sure you clean up your browser
history each month to make sure that no one can see what you see on the
web, which may include sensitive, personal or financial
information.

 This can include your credit card information,
identification numbers and so on, so this is an important step to
remember if you are concerned about your online security.

Tip: Most browsers have the erase history option in either their privacy or history menus. 

Conclusion:
So
remember, while the internet is an amazing tool and a fun opportunity
to add to your knowledge, it’s important to remember to have fun while
keeping yourself secure and safe from identity theft. 

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