The internet has transformed the way we live. As of 2019, it was estimated that 4.1 billion people were internet users. That’s over half of the world’s population.
Everything, from how we shop, communicate, get our news, and entertain ourselves has now changed.
However, with these changes comes new dangers. How, then, can internet users ensure they stay safe when browsing the internet?
Let’s start by talking about some of the risks of going online.
Some of the dangers of being an internet user include:
- Viruses and spyware
- Identity theft and fraud
- Scam emails and phishing
- Copyright infringement
- Exposure to harmful content
These risks are very real. Luckily, though, they are manageable. By taking the right security measures, users can help to protect themselves from some of these dangers.
How can they do this?
The first thing internet users need to do is become aware of malicious or inappropriate websites. It’s very easy for skilled developers to create a clone of a website, and this can often lead to scams or security breaches.
One of the ways the user can prevent this is by checking for any indications the website is fake. For example, they can check for an email address or phone number and contact it to make sure it’s real.
They can also check the website address for any misspellings or additional words and characters. This can suggest the website isn’t genuine.
Another indication the website is a clone or isn’t safe would be if there’s no padlock symbol or “https://” in the browser window. This would suggest the website isn’t secure and the user shouldn’t enter any personal information on the site.
These checks are particularly important if the user is planning to enter any private information on the website, like passwords or credit card details.
If this is the case, they should check the website is secure first by looking for a padlock and https:// in the browser, as this shows the website has a digital certificate issued by a third party and that the website has been encrypted to protect against data being stolen.
To protect themselves against data theft, users can also make sure they understand cookies, as these can be used by hackers to track their browsing habits, build fake profiles, and steal their data.
To prevent this, the user can set their browser to warn them when a cookie is installed, disable cookies on some sites, or they can install anti-spyware software that will scan their device for “tracker cookies”.
Some of the most risky websites include adult sites, social networking sites, and file sharing sites. When searching for these sites, users should always be extra vigilant by:
- Avoiding suspicious looking websites
- Only downloading from sites they trust
- Updating their system regularly
- Increasing their browser security settings
- Using antivirus software and installing a firewall
- Getting antispyware software protection
In cases where they encounter any illegal material or suspected fraudulent activity, users should report this to the police.