The internet boom of the 1990s changed our lives irreversibly. No one could have predicted how the world wide web would one day transform the way we live our lives. From the ways that we work (and who we work with), to how we socialise, shop and are entertained. It’s incredible to think of its impact — and in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t even created that long ago!
As the primary source for information and leisure activities these days, it’s important to know how to stay safe online. Cybercrime is on the rise – from data breaches, to hacking and more. With experts predicting that the global rate of cybercrime costs will grow by 15 percent every year over the next five years – and reach $10.5 trillion annually by the year 2025.
For the everyday user, there are some key things you can do to be aware and protect yourself — as cybercrime and scams aim to target many consumers on a regular basis.
Read on to find out the top 6 tips to protecting yourself when online.
Creating strong passwords
One of the most important, and easy, ways that people can protect themselves online while shopping and gaming at places like online casino Canada is by creating strong passwords to use on websites. You should always create websites that aren’t associated with you personally as they can be easily cracked or decoded. Your pet’s name or your child’s birthday, for example, are definite no-nos.
If you’re in doubt, use a combination of letters and numbers that’s easy enough for you to remember but almost impossible for others. You can also use a password management application or software that can store your passwords for you; so if you’ve chosen a particularly difficult, and safe one, you’re protected.
It’s important to change and update your passwords several times a year. Even the most complex passwords can be cracked over time, so keeping them updated across accounts is integral.
Limit personal information
It can be easy to overshare online, especially social media. But it’s important for your protection and to stay safe that you limit the amount of personal information that you’re sharing.
Always be prudent when sharing information online, especially if it concerns personal details like your banking information and address.
Keep your device up to date
Just because your device was once safe, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Keeping your device up to date is one of the ways you can stay protected. If you don’t have your software updating automatically, now is the time to turn that option on. It will save you from having to remember and keep you safe the moment there is a new update or change in security settings.
Look strange? Don’t click it!
If you receive a text or email with a link that seems a bit odd – that’s because it’s probably malware or a phishing scam. Best practice dictates to never open attachments, emails or click on links that don’t seem right. It’s one way that hackers can attain your personal information fast, including access to your bank accounts, logins to websites and more.
It’s important that you educate yourself, your friends and family on how to recognise these kinds of scams as they’re growing in popularity by cyber criminals and are becoming increasingly difficult to detect.
Go for two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly popular these days as it helps to keep accounts safe. With two-factor authentication, you’re required to verify your identity after you’ve logged in using a password and username. Oftentimes, you’ll get a code sent to your phone or email or answer a security question.
While it means that it takes a little bit longer to log into your accounts, two-factor authentication is a great way of staying safe. So if you’re given the option by whatever software or account you’re logging into to enable two-factor authentication, you should use it.
Back up your data
It’s something you should really be doing as good practice anyway but backing up your data can come in handy if you were by chance to become a victim of a scam.
Like changing your password, make backing up your data something you do regularly. Many people find it handy to create reminders in their phones just to ensure that it’s been done!
Encryption is key
Making any financial transaction online can be risky – so keep yourself safe by making sure that the website that you’re making the transaction on is encrypted. Check this by looking for two different things on the website – a security lock symbol and the s at the tend of http in the web address or URL.
If a website is encrypted that means that you’ll be the only one who can see the information that’s being sent across to the owner of the website, keeping all your sensitive data safe. You don’t want your information including your home address, phone number and banking details in the hands of someone else. So when in doubt, check those two elements of a website to make sure it’s encrypted!