The internet has, overwhelmingly, been positive for humanity. People are now able to connect with one another across oceans, share information, and deepen knowledge and understanding in ways that would once have been seen as impossible. Whether you want to catch up with your friends, research which restaurant you want to visit this weekend, or read up on a pet subject, the internet is the perfect solution.
However, while its benefits cannot be denied, the internet does have its downsides – and most specifically in terms of security. In an effort to ensure you can enjoy all the advantages of the internet without any of the disadvantages, below, we’ve provided a number of simple internet security tips you may wish to implement in future.
Consider using a password manager
The password you use when creating accounts is the first line of defence against security and data leaks, but unfortunately, most people are still using simple passwords that are relatively easy to hack – and more worryingly still, using the same password for a number of different websites. For the most part, people pick simple passwords and repeat their use due to concern over forgetting their login details; after all, remembering 30+ intricate, unique passwords is next to impossible. However, a password manager can help to solve this issue, generating unique passwords for every account, which you can then access with ease via your browser or mobile apps – a simple, safe, and secure solution.
Install effective antivirus software
While most operating systems will provide some antivirus protection as standard, it’s usually best to opt for an extra degree of protection by installing a dedicated antivirus program. There are dozens of different antivirus programs on the market, including free options that offer a more-than-adequate level of security, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to ensure you are safe and secure online. Just be cautious to check the reviews of any software you find, and always download your chosen program from authority websites you know you can trust.
Run regular malware sweeps
Malware can be installed on your machine without your knowledge; often it will be blocked by a firewall or other security programs, but even with the smartest protections in place there is always the potential for leaks. As a result, it’s essential to run a malware sweep using a dedicated program at least once a month. These programs – there are a variety of different options, including programs that are free to use – will analyse all of the files on your computer; if anything looks suspicious, they’ll alert you, remove it, and thus restore your PC security.
Use two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible
By enabling 2FA on your online accounts, you can enjoy an extra layer of security protection. Two-factor authentication works by first requesting that you log in to the site as normal, but then requests a second verification step; this may mean inputting a code displayed on your mobile phone, or sent to you in a text message. While 2FA does make the login process a little longer, it’s worth the mild inconvenience for the extra security boost you’ll be able to enjoy.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do when seeking to improve your online or PC security is to be suspicious of everything. Asked for personal details without any obvious reason? Don’t give them out. Not familiar with the sender of an email? Don’t open it. Invited to click on a link to a site you don’t recognise? Don’t click on the link – and so on and so forth. When it comes to internet security, it’s always preferable to err on the side of caution; if you have any reason to be concerned, then just back away and seek further information before engaging further.
Consider using a VPN
A virtual private network (commonly abbreviated to VPN) is the ultimate internet security step; the VPN acts as a private, encrypted third party between your computer and the websites you are using. Using a VPN allows you to effectively shield your IP address from the wider world, which in turn will enable you to browse with confidence, knowing that your activities are effectively untraceable and thus your personal data is secure.
While the internet has been undeniably beneficial in countless ways, the security risks it poses can be troubling. Thankfully, these security risks can be greatly reduced by employing the options above – allowing you to browse with complete peace of mind at all times.