The internet is a wonderful tool, but technology today is increasing faster than the safety message is. It’s sensible that you keep your house door locked whether you are in out just to keep safe. A second true fact is that this is not the only security measure you have put in place to keep you safe in your own house. You could have an additional Wi-Fi enabled security system, grills on your windows and doors; you probably have a dog that barks at the sound of a strange approach, or a bat under the bed for emergency cases. In the same way, if you have experienced the internet in one way or another then you definitely need this article.
In the simplest terms online safety is the act of staying safe online. This encompasses all technological devices with access to the internet i.e. a mobile phone, laptop, smart phone or tablet.
According to the Statistica website, as of January 2021 there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide – 59.5 percent of the world global population. Of this total 92.6 percent (4.32 billion) access the internet through mobile phones. A good percentage of this figure has also been established to be children.
Many of us subconsciously use the internet but rarely stop to think how we put ourselves at risk while on the internet. As a good practice we should always strive to stay protected while roaming the internet streets. In the following tips, I tell you how.
Use Strong Passwords
This is the single best way to prevent data breach. All your passwords should be strong and unique. From dating apps to high end to end secure banking sites today require you create a user account with them before accessing their services. The human brain naturally is not able to keep track of the numerous passwords we create hence we have automated password managers that allow you automatically save passwords with ease. It should not be a cause of alarm when you suddenly do not seem to remember your password.
For strong passwords most websites require you to create ‘strong ones’ – at least ones with six to eight characters and ones that include numbers, letters signs and asterisks. It is not in vain, it is a very important key to keeping your information safe online.
Enable Multifactor Authentication
To give the hackers a hard time; today most websites and applications require you to activate the two-step or more authentications. Better safe than sorry, you would not lose anything by taking a few more seconds before signing into your online account.
Use different email addresses for different kinds of accounts
Smart online users more often than not use different kinds of passwords for different kinds of accounts. This helps you quickly recognize and not fall victim to phishing. Let’s say you have one for your social media accounts and another for official sites and accounts i.e. banking and you receive a phishing email from a bank that comes to an address you only use for social media. You immediately realize it is fake and save yourself the tragedy.
Always clear your cache
Sounds simple, right? There are several reasons why you should regularly do this. An obvious one is that your cache tends to grow big and can take up lots of space on your device the bigger the space your cache holds, the slower your device will tend to get. In addition to this, when you’re especially using a public computer and you do not clear your cache – your information is laid bare for the next user to see and could land your personal and vital information into the wrong hands. Thirdly, the caches temporary files may be a target for adware, malware and virus files. To easily do this on most browsers press Ctrl+Shift+Del.
Be scam aware
Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their attempts to dupe people. I know you are probably thinking you are not that important so no scammer would have it out for you. Sorry to blow your bubble but anyone is liable to get scammed on these online streets! Unless you mean to say you do not have a social media account or even an email address. I thought as much.
There are many things I could mention that you should do to keep yourself secure but all of them become futile if you do not know what to watch out for. For starters you should know that scams exist. Before dealing with online contacts and accounts that you have never heard of make sure you do your due diligence before engaging. Do not open suspicious texts messages, emails, pop-up windows or click on links and attachments on emails. All these are easy ways to have you fall victim.
You have heard of even some of the smartest people we know get duped over phone calls asking you to disclose confidential information like pins and passwords claiming to be from renown companies i.e. Equity, Safaricom etc. all in pretence of trying to help you fix an issue and often with threats if you do not comply. Simply hang up. Do not engage. Save yourself the missing money from your bank accounts or mobile money accounts.
Technology is the best thing to ever happen to human beings but it in turn comes with a lot of challenges. Online insecurity is one of the biggest ones. It is better to literally look before you leap. Hopefully this article helps you want to know more about online safety and surf the internet cautiously. Remember, safety first always.