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What to do to stay safe online

Getting safe online is a function of how security was implemented on the website; the user of the website and the computer that is used to access the website. Hacking email, identity theft, and online credit card fraud is rampant as a result of not paying good attention to online security tips. Getting victimized online is usually the last wish anyone wants to experience. To protect your identity online is a very easy exercise, one just has to observe rudimentary precautionary measures to ensure that your user login details are properly protected. Doing all transactions safe online require just common sense and knowledge.

Use unique passwords for all login

The idea of having one user name for all online accounts is not a healthy decision. This is because most websites require only two parameters to get you logged on to their website namely, username and user password. With this, when a hacker plans an attack, and already knows your user identification then there are chances that the hacker might guess your password correctly using some sophisticated password analysers. Stalkers would continue to test same information elsewhere. Imagine a situation whereby a dishonest worker cracks your password, he may also make a guess of other likely places to test your details online. When you use different log in credentials for different websites you have a high chance of avoiding being hacked easily. The use of password manager could be helpful to an extent as it drills you on how best to form very strong passwords. Passwords should not be formed with basic information anyone can guess about you. These include date of birth, name, surname, name of your spouse or child. Following examples generated from password managers would go a long way to help you form a strong password. Passwords generally should not be formed from words in any particular language like English language. It has to be relatively long; it should contain a mixture of letters, signs and symbols as well as upper case with lower case.

When you use a password manager, the only password you need to remember is the one that locks the password manager itself. Password managers typically log you into your online accounts automatically (after you unlock the password manager, of course), which means they not only help keep you safer, but also increase your efficiency and productivity as you use your computer because you no longer have to type your logins.

Using Virtual Private Network service.

Any time you wish to connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi network that is unknown to you, it is recommended that you go via a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs provide a secure connection over the Internet between a user and the data. Encrypted data is exchanged across that connection. Even when this data is intercepted, it cannot be decoded easily.

Say you go to a coffee shop and connect to a free Wi-Fi network. You don’t know anything about the security of that connection. It is possible for the administrator to steal the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device. There are a few decent free VPN services, but most of the best ones come with  monthly fee.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication also called 2FA or two-step verification identifies users by means of combination of two different components. These components could be something that the user possess (eg bank card) and something that the user knows (PIN number). Combination of the two ensures that user log in is secured, but it will absolutely make your accounts more secure. Two-factor authentication means that you have another layer of security you need to pass beyond simply having a username and password to get into your accounts. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable, and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it. Internet banking, Gmail, and Dropbox are a few examples of online services that offer two-factor authentication.
It is recommended that you use Passcodes even if it is optional, also apply a passcode lock wherever it is offered. Locking handheld devices with password is of great essence to your security online. Preference of passcode over four-digit PIN is recommended. However, if fingerprint ID or another biometric lock is available make use of it.

Clear the Cache of your device regularly

Cache is a memory location designated to store some files from the internet so that it would be easier to load next time you want to access the web page. The browser is built with the capacity to capture parts of files from the internet and save them as cookies. These information could be retrieved with search routines from your web history, filled form data containing personal data or code snippets that could point a user to a cdertain home page address. To better protect that information that may be lurking in your web history, be sure to delete browser cookies and clear your browser history regularly. Softwares like Ccleaner can be configured to delete these files each time your computer starts up.

Save Password Feature in Browsers should be turned off

Some browsers have an inbuilt password management solution wherein user passwords are set to be remembered by default, whereas other browsers might prompt user to save web passwords. Turn off this feature from the settings as the effect could compromise your security should an unauthorised user have access to your computer. Password manager feature embedded in some browsers typically offer to import passwords stored insecurely in your browsers. Other malicious softwares also have the capacity to sift passwords stored in browser cache.

Avoid Click Bait

What you click online matters a lot as most developers embedd malicious cookies and code snippets  on their website. They optimise the website and make it catchy for you to click link to the bait. Click bait could refer to cat compilation videos, emails, messaging application, social media platform, catchy headlines or just hyper-linked pictures. Phishing links can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device. If you could cultivate the habit of not clicking links in emails or text messages from unknown sources then there is less chance of being lured to phishing websites.

Explore all Security Tools You Install on your device

The potency of all security softwares you install depend on the settings you apply. These softwares include antiviruses, antimalware etc.

Safe online shopping

Research about all potential online merchants before exposing your credit card to their websites. The best way to find a reputable retailer has been proven to be by recommendation from a trusted sources. Before entering payment card details on a website there are simple ways to check if they are genuine. First check if a padlock symbol is in the browser address bar which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Such websites should display https:// indicating that it is a secured website.

When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts. Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy. Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy. The session you opened may not terminate easily, and this could bridge the privacy policy.

Safe Shopping

Ensure that any online retailer unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them. Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. Remember that the best way to find a reputable retailer is via recommendation from a trusted source. Payments by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise. Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
Do not pay for goods when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection as such transaction can be sniffed and intercepted.
Always read through sellers privacy policy and returns policy at least once before engaging them in any business deal involving money.

Install protection softwares on your computer

Protection softwares like antivirus, antispyware and firewall should be installed, updated and always running before you go online. This ensures complete safety online