These days, with cyber threats like hacking, fraud and malware proving a major risk for individuals and businesses, it’s more important now than ever before to be aware of your online safety. This is especially the case if you conduct many transactions online, and interact regularly with other users on any online platform.
However, while many of us might be aware of the importance of online safety, what exactly does this look like in practice? With so much information out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. In addition to this, everyone’s online user behaviour is different, so some might need to focus on one aspect of online security more than another, for example, if you play online games.
In this article, we’ll outline some tips on how to beef up your online safety, especially when conducting transactions online, and interacting with other users while playing online games, to make sure that you can be aware for your safety online at all times.
5 Tips to Beef Up Your Online Safety
1. Password protect your devices and logins
One of the simplest things that people can do to beef up their online safety is to create strong passwords for all of your login details and devices. Although it can be a serious pain to have to remember many different passwords, it is worth it in the long run, as it makes accessing your phone or data that much more challenging for hackers.
If you do struggle to remember passwords, you can always use a password manager app, which will help you store multiple passwords. The all you need to do is remember the master key, in order to access all of your various login details at the right time.
2. Update your software
Although it can be annoying to have to remember to update your software, it’s very important to make sure that you always have the latest version, especially when it comes to antivirus programmes and operating systems.
This is because If you’re using an outdated version, you could be vulnerable to threats, as outdated software won’t provide the same protection against newly created viruses or other kinds of malware.
3. Be aware when making online payments
The online payments industry is booming, with so many banking and other fintech applications around the world currently improving the exchange of money around the world, and making it a lot simpler and quicker.
However, this boom in online payments means that you need to be vigilant, especially when using your credit card, and when sharing your data online. Any reputable online seller will ensure that your credit card details are encrypted when you make a purchase. However, some sites might not be as reputable.
In addition to being aware of the transactions you make online, for example, when online gaming, it’s also important to be aware of phishing. This is when someone, often posing as someone else, tries to get you to click a link or share personal information that could help them gain access to your banking accounts or other data.
4. Read the fine print
Of course, no one really likes to read the fine print, but it is so important to understand how your data is being used before signing up for an online service. While you should always make sure to use only reputable providers, some are really good at pretending to be legitimate, when they’re actually sharing your data with third parties (making you more vulnerable to cyber crime).
When setting up online payment structures, this is particularly important, as you want to make sure that all of your data is encrypted, which will make it a lot more difficult to access in the event that a site or online service gets hacked.
5. Don’t share your information publicly
Although many people spend their days working on free public WiFi, this does come with a risk, unless you are using protective software like a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which helps to protect you from threats by safeguarding your data.
In fact, while very convenient, public charging points have also led to instances of “juice jacking”, whereby cybercriminals infect phones with malware via USB devices.
While you don’t want to be paranoid, it’s important to be aware that any exchange of online data comes with a risk, and it’s important to mitigate these risks wherever possible.
As we have discussed in the article above, there are many different ways to beef up your online security. These include setting strong passwords, keeping your software updated, being aware when making online payments, reading the fine print and avoiding sharing your personal data publicly.
Overall, as we’ve discussed, it’s important to be aware of exactly what information you’re sharing, and when, and to know exactly how your data is being shared when signing up for any service that involves the exchange of money. We know that legalese can be difficult to digest, but understanding exactly how your data is used is crucial to ensuring your online safety.
Of course, as in any other kind of environment, virtual or otherwise, it’s important to be aware of who you interact with. As much as you might think you have built up a relationship with an online persona, it’s always best to not share any confidential information, with anyone, at any time.