Why should you be safe on the internet?
Nowadays it could be argued that we need the internet the most. Being unable to leave the house, can make for awkward circumstances. We have to rely on our devices for entertainment, learning and work (as well as other things). With all of this going on, the internet can become a crowded place with many threats. At a time, such as this it would be unhelpful if your data was placed in the wrong hands and used for unethical uses. It’s your data and your cyber safety.
What can you do to be “cyber safe”?
- Installing anti-virus software is extremely helpful (such as Norton or McAfee), however there are different kinds of threats that could be lurking.
- Checking the URL of an email or website – this is the search box at the top of a website. This can be checked on a suspicious email by hovering the mouse over a link. The real URL will show beneath. Check that this is the same as the link in the email.
- Checking the user – some emails may be sent by an organisation that you recognise. However, if the user is not completely related to the organisation, take extra precautions (such as ringing the organisation). Don’t be afraid to just ignore or delete it if you’re still worried.
- Clear your cookie history – this can be done by clearing your history in the settings options of most browsers. It also improves computer performance and stops unwanted data travelling to your device. Go to this guide from Norton for details on how to do this on your browser: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-privacy-how-to-clear-cookies.html
- Create strong passwords – I know it can make you feel smart, to make your own password – but hackers and spyware can crack lots of short passwords and ones that are related to actual words. Try making your password completely unrelated, long, strong and contains different cases, numbers, letters, and symbols. Make sure it’s something you can remember or write it down somewhere it can’t be hacked. If you’re struggling to make a password generator like https://www.lastpass.com/password-generator or try out their password manager that can generate and store your passwords securely.
- Be careful of who you talk to online and what you download from websites – if you don’t trust content, don’t download it.
- If you’re in an awkward situation where a person is being a bit too nosy tilt the screen away or stand away from them. Or even purchase a privacy screen so it appears blank to people except you. Or if that doesn’t work simply ask them to stand farther away.
Types of cyber threats to look out for
Phishing: It has nothing to do with catching fish, as though it may sound like. Phishing is a fraudulent method to gain a person’s data through a fake email/scam that requires them to input their credit card number/personal details.
Shoulder surfing: This is when a real person looks “over your shoulder” in order to spy on your password, credit number. etc.
Cookies: these are sources (e.g. a website such as Google) that store information such as your history and location in order to change your internet experience.
Trojans: named after the famous Trojan horse which led to the downfall of the city of Troy a Trojan virus tricks the user into thinking it’s a genuine software application and misleads them of its true intent of releasing harmful viruses into your computer.
Malware: this is any software that is intentionally designed to damage your computer
Being safe on the internet is essential in the 21st century and especially today. People should be more careful than ever, now that we’re relying on the internet the most. It can never hurt to be too careful. Stay safe.
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