The internet is a place of almost infinite potential, with so much knowledge available, and the means to connect with nearly anyone in the entire world. But with all of that said, it can also be a dangerous place if you are not careful.
When you do browse the internet, it is important to follow a few basic principles to protect yourself from cybercriminals and malicious content. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of ways in which cyber criminals have figured out to steal data and money from innocent users of the internet. We spoke to a professional tech company called TechQuarters – they provide IT services in London to small and medium sized businesses. We discussed some of the core principles of safe internet browsing.
Be careful where you purchase things
A lot of people don’t think twice about making a purchase online – we are so used to secure sites like Amazon and eBay, and the countless fashion retailers that trade online, that we just assume making purchases online is not a risky thing to do. However, cyber criminals work hard to fool people into parting with their money online – whether it be through imitating legitimate websites, or operating on sites like eBay.
When you are thinking about making a purchase on a webpage – always check that it is a secure site. Learn the signs that indicate whether or not a site is safe, and also consider Googling the site to see if anyone has had a bad experience while shopping on it.
Keep your information private
After money, data and personal information is the next most valuable resource that most cyber criminals are looking to acquire from innocent users. Unfortunately, due to social media platforms, people have been lulled into a false sense of security around sharing personal information online. In fact, it is true that most social media platforms want to encourage this, because they can use your data to get advertisers to give them money. However, there are also more nefarious users who would like to get your personal information. In general, users should not share personal information publicly online, or at the very least, keep it to a minimum.
Keep your software updated
Software is an important way in which you can stay safe online – and we are not necessarily talking about security software (although it is definitely worth the money). Developers are always finding flaws and loopholes in their software, which means that cybercriminals are also finding them. This is why software developers usually release patch updates for software regularly – so that they can close loopholes and vulnerabilities in their software before cyber criminals can take advantage of them. This is why it is important to keep your software up to date – especially your web browser.
Learn to identify secure sites
This is one of the biggest principles to learn, because so many people fall victim to cyber attacks simply because they don’t know when they are on a dangerous website. Learning the signs of a safe website mean you will also become more aware of sites that are unsecure and potentially unsafe. It is relatively easy to learn: Look at the URL of a website – does it start with https? That means it is a secure site; the ‘s’ literally stands for ‘secure’. Additionally, secured websites will also have a small padlock icon next to the web address.
Be wary of downloading content
Cyber criminals want to gain control of your data and your devices. One of the ways in which they do this is by convincing users to download content that infects their computer, and gives the criminal control of the device. This is exactly why users should be very wary of the content they download online. Never download content from a website you have never been to before – always check if a website is secure. Don’t ever download content from someone you have never met, or who is pressuring you to download the content (this is sometimes a sign of a hacker).