Oh, the world wide web, how fascinating our lives have been with it! It has opened is to a whole new dimension of information we have no access to before. But then, just like any other place that’s worth exploring, there may be dangers that lurk on the sides that if you fall victim to, will damage your entire experience. So, you need to be aware of these hazards and keep yourself safe when surfing online. What’s great is that you don’t really need to be a computer science genius to know how to amply protect yourself when exploring the internet. Minimize your risk by taking note of these tips to enjoy a safer web experience.
The Importance of Upgrading
Let’s admit it: Most, if not all of us, get annoyed when programs in our computer get upgraded without our permission. These silent upgrades are not done for no reason, though, as they play a key role in keeping everyone safe. Moreover, browsers and OSes have made it point to roll out their updates in a seamless fashion, making it a point to not bother users. It would be best to apply these updates on all applications and programs, not just on your browser or frequently used programs. Don’t allow old versions of programs to be left in your machine, as they are susceptible to attacks, not to mention that they may soon (or may have already) be without support.
Silent upgrades might occasionally be annoying (and costly), but they’re a big part of keeping you safe, which is why the updates for most OSes and browsers now happen seamlessly. Apply updates whenever you’re asked to on all your applications, not just your browser, and be wary of leaving older hardware gathering dust on your network.
Viruses and malware are constantly evolving to exploit vulnerabilities in your software and hardware. Software developers try to fix these flaws as soon as they are discovered. What many people don’t realise is that infections occur because people delay software updates that fix these flaws. In short, they could have protected themselves by installing the updates to fix the security holes as soon as they came out.
That Required Two-Step Verification
Users are pretty much exposed to two-step verification, with most tech firms giving users the option to set it up on their accounts. What it is, basically, is that users can have an SMS or code to supplement their usernames and passwords every time they log in on a new device. Google and Microsoft highly encourage two-step verification, while for Mac users, they call it 2FA, or 2 Factor Authentication. There’s a slight difference in the process but the overall idea is the same.
Two-factor authentication (usually abbreviated 2FA) is a way to prove that you actually are the owner of a particular account by providing two “factors” of evidence. One factor is a piece of knowledge—your password or PIN, for instance. Another factor may be possession of a particular object—a phone that receives texts sent to a certain number, a USB key fob, or access to an email address. A another factor may be inheritance—something inherent to you, like your fingerprint or a retinal scan.
Is It Time for End-to-End Encryption?
End-to-end encryption is supposed to be a heaven-sent for users who want to be guaranteed privacy, as the encrypted messages they send can be read by only both receiver and sender, which means snoopers and hackers are excluded. URLs starting HTTPS and platforms that use fully encrypted messaging such as Signal and WhatsApp are enablers of end-to-end encryption. However, recent developments have revealed that it seems that government agencies have encouraged firms to abandon end-to-end encryption.
But though Apple at one time may have had plans to offer end-to-end encryption, according to a new report from Reuters the iPhone manufacturer abandoned plans to do so after receiving complaints from the FBI.
Lock Your Phone for Real
If your phone doesn’t have a lock screen, you are exposing yourself to a lot of danger, as cybercriminals can get to your web browser history and social media accounts, both of which contain your most personal information. You may opt to add a fingerprint, a PIN code, or a pattern, which makes sure that unwelcome visitors or snatchers of your phone are discouraged from stealing your information.
With a little work, your Galaxy, Pixel, or OnePlus phone can be a veritable fortress, virtually impenetrable to hacks, attacks, and bad apps. So whether you’re looking for a little extra security or a complete lockdown of your phone, here’s everything you need to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.
Don’t Rely on Public Wi-Fi
When you access public Wi-Fi, take note that a lot of other users can, too. This means that you will have to be careful of what you are sharing, what websites you go to, as other people may see it. You may consider installing VPN software if you’re fond of connecting to public Wi-Fi. But then, even of institutions like EFF say that public Wi-Fi isn’t that dangerous anymore, you should take this with a grain of salt.
However, starting in 2010 that all changed. Eric Butler released Firesheep, an easy-to-use demonstration of “sniffing” insecure HTTP to take over people’s accounts. Site owners started to take note and realized they needed to implement HTTPS (the more secure, encrypted version of HTTP) for every page on their site. The timing was good: earlier that year, Google had turned on HTTPS by default for all Gmail users and reported that the costs to do so were quite low. Hardware and software had advanced to the point where encrypting web browsing was easy and cheap.
But then, no matter what safety precautions you can adapt to make your web experience safer and more private, incidences like hacking may still occur, causing data loss. But don’t worry – we have you covered. Click here to know how we can help you recover your files.