The Internet is one of the great tools within the modern world; enabling users everywhere globally to communicate with each other with minimal barriers. On top of this, as time went on, it became a great tool for almost every use imaginable: businesses can be run from online solely, information can be shared easily, games and entertainment can become available for all; truly a novelty of an invention.
Yet, that is not to say it is not without its problems. At the forefront of these problems too are usually people seeking to take advantage of the internet for nefarious reasons. As more businesses become online-capable, it means that the amount of money processed online have increased as well. Which also means, the information used in these processes is very sensitive and very important to persons involved in these transactions; presenting a golden opportunity for malicious actors to take advantage of loopholes found within these processes for one reason or another. Such actors are collectively called hackers and through getting access to this information, they can steal a person's asset or information.
Keeping Your Information Safe and Secure
To protect yourself from these nefarious actors, there are some good habits to adapt to keep your privacy secure. The simplest of these which is often overlooked is to ensure that the URL within your browser is actually correct. This is because of a type of attack called a phishing attack; a website having a very similar or close name to the website you intended to actually browse but it isn't. This means that you are on a compromised website and entering any sensitive information is highly dangerous and risky as it will likely be stolen. Ensuring that the website is also HTTPs is also a very important thing if it's a website you will be entering any sensitive information on such as your personal data or the credit card.
Utilizing a VPN is another good habit to consider that will go a long way. A virtual private network (VPN), will allow you to mask your device's IP Address along with setting up secure tunnels between two devices who are sharing data. Through the means of this tunnel, one could type and share sensitive information without fear of it being sniffed or altered through a man-in-the-middle attack; that is, a hacker pretending to be the intended recipient of the message.
The age old truth of having more secure passwords is another great habit to pick up as well. More specifically; it pays in today's age to get a password manager. Typically, these managers are built to help you by building complex secure case-sensitive passwords and storing these credentials for you. In the most secure of these add-ons, they require you to setup a Master Password to access all of the managed passwords and allow you to determine which specific passwords would require you to enter the Master Password for to view. They even allow you to instantly copy and paste in password credentials based on websites to save you the hassle of having to constantly log on and sift through the list of passwords to find the right one.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is another great feature that has came out in today's world for security. Having this setup on your online accounts, especially bank accounts, would require you to enter a security code to allow certain processes with the account; such as sending funds or logging in. Through this means, even if somehow, your account information has been breached, you'll be notified the moment the breacher tries to do something with it as your 2FA alert will notify you. Or better yet, it'll stop them from being able to proceed as they wouldn't have access to the code to enter when prompted for it.
And finally, managing emails is also a simple tidbit that goes a long way. Typically, when creating a new account on a website, they try to push a plethora of emails onto you in their newsletter listings. What you may not know, is that within their listings exists websites/companies which you care nothing for or know nothing about. This is typically done in a process called lead generation, where companies basically advertise the prospect of sending their customers the advertisements of other companies. What this also means, however, is that you're likely to not only get bombarded with a lot of clutter email but also have your email shared across other companies and websites you're unfamiliar with. This increases the chance of your information being breached as now, more parties have access to it who may not be following the best-practices online. A good means of handling this is to be sure to opt out of newsletters as much as possible when creating new accounts or to even have a second email to use. This secondary email can be used for websites or accounts you do not trust and as such, you wouldn't put any sensitive or personal information attached to this email. Another good thing to do is to check which of your emails have been compromised so you can remove it from your active list of emails.
These are but a few suggestions one can pick up very easily, but there most definitely exists a lot of others which you can pick up yourself. The idea is to always be safe while using the internet because remember, information is power.
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