In this day and age, the internet has become a part of most people’s lives, many people use it on a daily basis for work and entertainment purposes. In fact, by the time of writing, about 3.8 Billion people around the world use the Internet.
While this is a good thing, the Internet is relatively unsafe and unregulated, cybercriminals of all types and backgrounds are circulating the web looking for their next victim.
But the problem is most people are unaware of the risks involved in using the internet, or they have simply given up on that simply because they struggled with protecting their identity online before.
But while it’s not possible to entirely protect your identity online, you can still take some necessary security measures to browse the internet without worrying much about the safety of your identity.
So here are ten things that you can do to ensure the safety of your online identity:
1. Strong passwords
One of the first and most important steps to ensuring the safety of your online identity is to always make sure to use strong passwords. While there are no standards on how a strong password should look like, generally speaking, a password should contain more symbols and special characters than just simple letters and numbers.
Avoid using general words or numbers or those that may be easily guessed and associated with your identity, try your best to make sure that the password has a mix of many letter and symbol combination. This is critical because hackers may use bots or code to guess your password, it has been done before.
In addition, it’s a good practice to never share your password with anyone and making sure to change the password several times during the year.
2. Encrypted transactions
By the time of writing, most websites on the internet still use the default ”HTTP” security standard, while it’s relatively secure, sharing sensitive personal or financial information with ”HTTP” websites is not a safe practice.
Any novice hacker can learn everything about you if they compromise the website, therefore you should always look for websites that use the encrypted ”HTTPS” (with an ‘S’ at the end) security standard.
It is generally secure to share your financial information with websites that use ”HTTPS” and have a green lock symbol on the browser URL, this means that the website uses encryption security standards which makes it almost impossible for hackers to steal your data from those websites.
3. Online Antivirus
While some popular general use-case antivirus software may have a built-in online malware protection features, it’s generally recommended to get a dedicated online antivirus security software to protect your data and computer from hackers and malicious software.
Online security programs such as Norton Antivirus or Bitdefender are designed to fight malware, trojans and anything suspicious that may steal your data or compromise your computer.
4. Browser Blocking
The default web browser that you use to surf the internet may possibly be the reason behind your lack of security protection online.
Some web browsers will have an option to block harmful sites and stop them from infecting your computer, some web browsers like Chrome or Brave already have this feature built-in so it’s just a matter of using the right web browser to protect your security.
5. Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are one of the common ways cybercriminals use to steal online users data and trick into giving out sensitive personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information.
Many people fall victims for these type of scam, as it’s relatively difficult to identify these kinds of phishing attacks. Cybercriminals often use a variety of methods to disguise themselves and trick users into thinking they’re legitimate and trustworthy entities.
Phishing scams often come in the form of suspicious promotional emails, web links, fake-looking websites and other types of scams, so if it looks too good to be true or if you have little doubt that a service or website is unsafe, it’s probably is.
6. Virtual Private Network
One of the most efficient ways to protect your online identity is to use a virtual private network (VPN), a VPN software will encrypt your internet traffic which will greatly help enhance your online privacy and protect your data.
A VPN software can protect you at all times while your browsing the web, cybercriminals will find it extremely difficult to identify you or steal your data since a VPN hides your IP address and allow you to browse the web anonymously.
7. Put A Password on Your Wi-Fi
You will be surprised to know that many people don’t actually put a password on their home or work’s wireless router.
It is common sense that when you don’t protect your home Wi-Fi router with a not-so-easy to guess password, you should expect that many nearby folks will be taking advantage of that. Not only that, but cybercriminals will also find it easier to get access to your private data from your connected devices.
8. Protect your private Information
Nowadays, people often have a tendency to share too much information about themselves online and on social networks. This, of course, is not a very safe practice. Never share things about yourself online that could possibly reveal sensitive information about yourself.
You should also be wary of giving out permissions to apps and online services, some malicious apps may use that data to sell it to advertisers o even to hackers.
9. Clear browsing cookies
Internet cookies are a type of data stored on your browser to enable websites to track you and provide a better user experience.
But some malicious websites can also take advantage of these cookies technology to steal your data and spy on your browsing activities. By continuously deleting these tracking cookies from your web browser, you will help protect your private data.
10. Don’t pay with credit cards online
A large percentage of people online nowadays prefer to shop online due to the convenience of the whole experience, but most shoppers online make the crucial mistake of using their credit cards for online shipping.
Hackers online are always looking to obtain credit card information of unsuspected online shoppers. Even if you use your credit cards on secure ”HTTPS” online stores, you run the risk of someone getting ahold of your credit card information. If it’s possible, use PayPal or even cryptocurrencies, these payment options are generally much safer than using your credit cards to pay for goods and services online.
The internet is like the wild west, cybercriminals are always seeking new ways to collect and steal data of unsuspected users, and they often get away with it. However, by implementing the security measures above, you will greatly enhance your online security and protect your identity online.