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An average Internet user is hardly aware of all the potential threats that exist on the World Wide Web. It is not that difficult to fall for a trap and end up with significant issues, such as malware on your computer that corrupts or deletes data. Not to mention other examples, like identity theft and credit card fraud.
To make your experience online safer, you should follow certain guidelines to prevent or, at the very least, minimize the potential risks.
Avoid Shady Attachments
Let’s start with attachments that you receive via emails, social media, Discord, and other similar channels.
If someone you know and trust sends you a file that you are expecting, then you should be okay. However, a random attachment should raise your suspicion right away.
Take emails as an example. You might get an email congratulating you on winning a giveaway. The catch is that you need to download a specific file, usually in a PDF format. Can PDF files have viruses? Of course, they can. So long as there is a chance that you will encounter a threat via an attachment, you are better off ignoring it.
Use Reliable Antivirus Software
A decent anti-malware tool is often enough to detect and eliminate potential cybersecurity threats before they become an issue.
As a rule of thumb, you want to have antivirus software running in the background when you are surfing the net. Also, as an additional precaution, you should also scan the device’s disk on a regular basis to make sure that none of the files are corrupted.
Having said that, do not count on antivirus software to completely prevent cybersecurity threats. Depending on the severity of the malware you encounter, even anti-malware tools might not be enough to help you. Thus, be aware of the fact.
Do Not Overshare Personal Details
Considering how much time people spend online, it should not come as a surprise that quite a few tend to treat their digital life seriously, especially when it comes to social media.
Being careful and sharing personal details via pictures or messages to others is a common occurrence. For some, it is an honest mistake, while others go online while intoxicated.
Let’s say that you upload an image with personal credentials. There is no telling what repercussions that could lead to.
Update Your Devices
Missing the latest operating system version puts you at risk. OS developers keep a close eye on the latest cybersecurity threats. Whenever there is a new danger, the reaction is to push security updates so that users can install a new version and create a security layer.
As soon as you notice a notification for a new update available on your computer or mobile device, download and install it. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of becoming a cybersecurity threat target to an extent.
Use Complicated Passwords
Lackluster password policies are also worth a shout. Hardly anyone bothers to use complicated combinations in their credentials when creating online accounts. Not to mention the fact that it is common to stick to the same passwords throughout different accounts.
The hassle of coming up with and memorizing different passwords for tens of online accounts requires a lot of effort.
Nevertheless, if you want to create a more secure online experience, you have to put effort into it. If memorizing passwords is too difficult, you can use a password manager to store the login details in a safe location.
2-factor authentications are excellent when it comes to avoiding potential fraud. When possible, use a second access method in addition to your password.
Be it a text message, a phone call, or an email with a verification code, a second step required to access your account works as an excellent obstacle for potential hackers. Even if someone gets your password, they would still not be able to access the account, thanks to the second security layer.
Stick to Virtual Private Networks
Virtual private networks are a must when you connect to public Wi-Fi. The Internet available in hotels, bars, cafes, libraries, and other public locations tends to miss the necessary security protocols.
It is easy to breach an unsuspecting person on a device. The situation changes, however, when this person connects to Wi-Fi via a virtual private network.
VPNs encrypt data and create a wall between the device and the Wi-Fi this device connects to. A wall between a potential attacker and you is a sure way to avoid unwanted troubles on the Internet.
Keep Up With the Latest Cybersecurity Trends
The last bit of advice is keeping up with the latest cybersecurity trends. You should familiarize yourself not just with the most recent threats. Methods to overcome them are also valuable. Be it new software or settings you can change on the device, knowing such information is worth it.