As more and more people embrace the power of the internet, the number of scammers and hackers looking to take advantage of unwary internet users continues to rise. The good news is that there are safety measures that people can put in place to ensure their personal information stays private.
Learn Good Password Habits
One of the most important safety tips for online users involves the use of strong, unique passwords for all critical accounts. This includes any banking sites, personal email accounts, and other important sites that a person may frequent. Users mustn’t use the same password across multiple accounts, as a single data breach – where hackers steal personally identifiable information from organizations -could then put all of their accounts at risk.
On top of creating strong passwords for all their accounts, internet users should also consider changing their passwords regularly. Password management applications that are available on all platforms can help users create, save, and keep track of passwords for multiple accounts.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication When Possible
Aside from a strong password, many websites now also offer the option of multi-factor authentication for users. Multi-factor authentication involves the use of two or more credentials, such as a password or code, to access an account. An example would be an SMS that a user receives when they try to log into their bank’s website. Having two or more layers of protection means that hackers and scammers require more information to access a person’s information, making it more secure.
Be Careful What You Click
It doesn’t matter how many layers of authentication a person has on their account if they don’t practice safe clicking habits when surfing the internet. Spam emails, clickbait popups, and online quizzes are just some of the methods that phishers use to get internet users to give them access to personal information. As a rule, never enter your personal information into a popup that appears unless the popup is part of a secure website that was visited intentionally.
Only Make Online Purchases from Secure Websites
Online shopping may not be a new practice, but it is certainly growing in popularity. According to statistics published by Statista, sales in the retail e-commerce sector in Canada in 2019 reportedly amounted to more than 33 billion CAD, with that figure expected to reach 44 billion CAD in 2024. Due to this popularity, and the boom in e-commerce websites, there is a growing number of fake websites that have come online to cash in on unwary shoppers.
When shopping online, a person should always ensure that the website they are visiting is secure and uses encryption. The addresses of secure websites always start with “https” instead of “http” and will have a padlock icon next to them in the address bar of a browser.
This rule applies to any website that requires a user to provide their credit card or bank account information to make an online purchase, such as streaming platforms, websites that sell games, in-game marketplaces, and websites that allow users to play casino games online for real money.
Staying safe in the virtual world is the responsibility of every person who chooses to have an online presence, so be sure to keep these safety tips in mind the next time you are browsing the internet.