Anyone who uses the Internet must have a minimum knowledge of how to protect their data online. Otherwise, hackers can get hold of personal data like images, bank information, credit card details, etc., and wreak havoc on your life. Here are the six must-know security tips you should always keep in mind while surfing online.
1. HTTPS protocol
When shopping online or dealing with financial information, always ensure that the website is a secure one, meaning that the site should be HTTPS and not HTTP. HTTP “is already obsolete because it’s been proven to do a lot of damage from a security viewpoint. Websites containing the HTTPS… combine the HTTP — or Hypertext Transfer Protocol — with something called a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. In other words: You’re offered strong encryption whenever a session between the browser you’re using and a web server happens,” according to Tech Droider. If you use your credit card on a non-HTTP website, a hacker can intercept your session and steal the information.
Some people have a habit of using the same password for all accounts like social media, online banking, email, and so on. While this is indeed super-convenient, it is a rather foolish decision. If a third party were to get hold of the password from any single account, they would be able to use it and access other accounts too. As such, always use different passwords for different online services and try to keep multi-factor authentication active since it provides an extra layer of security.
3. Accessing Wi-Fi
It can be tempting to use free public Wi-Fi. However, doing so can open your device and data to vulnerabilities. To keep yourself safe from being infiltrated through such open networks, make sure that the Wi-Fi itself is fully encrypted. “Ask your hotel about its security protocol before connecting to the Web. Be extra cautious using Internet cafés and free Wi-Fi hotspots; if you must use them, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network,” according to Norton.
4. Mobile device safety
Always lock your mobile with a password or a PIN. This way, even if you lose the phone, third parties won’t be able to access your private data. Keep the device OS updated and only install apps from trusted sources like the Google Play store. As far as possible, avoid storing sensitive information like passwords of other accounts on the device. Never click on the links of unsolicited emails. Finally, always backup your data.
Even though all messaging apps claim that they offer encryption, the fact is that most only offer something called “encryption in transit.” For this type of encryption, the message is decrypted and stored on the servers of the provider. As such, anyone who hacks into the server will basically get access to all your messaging history. To protect yourself: “Use a messaging app with end-to-end encryption — for example, WhatsApp… by default, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Google Allo do not use end-to-end encryption. To enable it, manually start a secret chat,” according to Kaspersky.
Just like the Wi-Fi connection for your mobile device, Bluetooth connectivity can also be problematic. Some people just leave their Bluetooth feature on even while not using it. Other people nearby can connect to your phone and get access to your data. So always switch it off after use.