Online safety is essential. The internet is great for finding information, sharing ideas, and connecting with people. But it can also be dangerous. You should be careful when you’re online, so you don’t get tricked by bad guys who want to steal your private information or trick you into doing something you shouldn’t (like giving them money).
Don’t click on suspicious links.
You can stay safe online by not clicking on suspicious links, as social media ad fraud is becoming common. This includes emails from people you don’t know or links that ask for personal information such as credit card numbers or your social security number. For example, if you receive an email from someone asking for money and it contains a link to a website where you can pay them with your credit card information, don’t click the link!
You should also never click on suspicious links in emails that seem to be from friends but aren’t them (like “Hey! Check out this funny video I found!”). These types of phishing schemes are designed to look legitimate so that they can trick you into giving up sensitive information like passwords and bank account numbers.
Change your passwords often and make them strong.
Good passwords are difficult to guess and easy for you to remember. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Make sure you don’t use personal information like your birthday, phone number, or common passwords such as “123456” or “password.”
You can also use a password manager, which lets you generate strong passwords, store them securely and fill them into websites automatically when needed.
Use two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication is a must-have security feature on your devices and accounts. It adds layers of protection to your login by prompting you to enter the code that is sent to your phone when you log in. That way, even if someone has your password and tries logging in as you through links or by any social media ad fraud, they won’t be able to without access to your phone number or another device that sends the text message with the authentication code.
To enable 2FA for any account that offers it:
- Log into that account on a device with internet access (a browser or mobile app).
- Click/tap on “Sign In” from the top menu bar or sidebar of their website or app.
- Select “Password & Security” from the list of options under “My Account.” This may vary depending on what kind of account it is—for example, if you’re logging in through your bank’s website instead of your financial management software, then you’d select “Account & Settings” instead since there isn’t an option named exactly “Password & Security. The next page will show which type(s) of 2FA is available: SMS (text messaging), authenticator apps such as Google Authenticator® or Duo Mobile® and Yubikey.
Update your software regularly.
Modern web browsers and applications are constantly updated to fix bugs, improve security, and improve your experience. Most updates include features you may want to take advantage of (such as a new tab management feature in Safari).
You can keep track of when software updates are available by checking the app or browser’s “About” page (in macOS, this is in the Apple menu > About This Mac). You should always install updates as soon as they become available because they often fix vulnerabilities that hackers could otherwise exploit.
Back up your documents and media files.
You can use software like Google Drive or Dropbox to back up your files. This will allow you to keep a copy of your documents and media files stored in the cloud so that if one computer crashes or gets stolen, you have an extra copy stored away safely on another device.
Suppose you use your computer’s version control system like Git or SVN. In that case, each user must have their repository for their work instead of having two people working on the same file simultaneously (which could lead to big problems).
It is hoped you now better understand how to stay safe online and keep your data secure. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a professional.
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