With all you do online – it is hard to imagine a world without the internet. What is even harder to imagine is becoming a victim of online crime. Browsing the web safely takes a few extra steps and precautions, but it is well worth it.
The internet is a vital part of our lives – so vital that it has become a focal point of everything we do every day. Even offline time and activities, such as social gatherings or getting outside for some disconnected time, are often planned with the help of the internet.
With so much activity online, criminals have plenty of opportunities to target their next victims – but you do not have to be one of them. Protecting yourself can be easy with these tips.
Look for evidence of security. When you visit a website, there are ways to tell if it is secure. First, look at the URL. It should contain the letters "HTTPS" instead of just "HTTP.” Your browser will also display a padlock symbol if the site is secure.
Use a Virtual Private Network. A virtual private network (VPN) creates a private connection from your device to the internet. This keeps your online data invisible to criminals and protects you from snooping.
Verify the web address. It is easy to make a typing mistake when entering a website address, such as an incorrect vowel or a doubled consonant. Especially if it is a site where you plan to make a purchase or enter any information, look to ensure you are on the right site.
Use anti-threat software. Install and use antivirus software on your mobile device and computer and keep the software up to date.
Go incognito. Most modern browsers offer the ability to surf the web in private browsing or incognito mode. Use private browsing or incognito mode to prevent websites from downloading “tracking cookies” to your device. Also, consider clearing your browser's cache regularly.
Prioritize your passwords. Ensure your browsing is protected through the power of strong passwords, and consider using a password manager. Never enter personal information or make a financial transaction on a public Wi-Fi network.
Incorporating these tips into your online browsing habits may take a little getting used to, but once you learn them, they take no time to use. Plus, they can save you a lot of time and hassle later by keeping your personal information safe.
Visit our Security and Fraud Center for more ways to stay safe online.