Billions of people are now active Internet users, and all of them are connected via different sites and services. This is as great as it is scary because of various online dangers that make you vulnerable to abuse and hacking. The question lots of people have is, how do you stay safe online? Check out these ideas to ensure your safety.
1. Use Incognito mode
All major web browsers, like Firefox or Google Chrome, have an ‘incognito’ mode. These are the modes that enable you to surf the Internet without saving any files from the websites you visit. This type of protection is rather minimal because the websites can see your data nonetheless. However, this mode is essential if you want to leave less of a trace. For example, this method is perfect if you don’t want another person who uses the same computer to know what you’ve been doing online.
On Chrome, in order to use the incognito mode, you can either press Ctrl+Shift+N or the ‘New incognito window’ when you open the drop-down menu.
If you use Firefox, press Ctrl+Shift+N, or choose ‘New private window’ in the menu.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is more helpful than just using incognito mode. Services like Express VPN or Nord VPN aren’t free, but they keep your IP address and other important information protected while you’re online. With a VPN websites can’t get your personal data and location.
Also, you can surf the Internet as if you’re in a different country. Many such services enable you to stream other countries’ versions of apps like Netflix and Amazon Video or see something that’s blocked in your state. There are phone apps to keep you safe while using the Internet from your phone.
Even though there are free services like Hola, it’s much better to invest in something like NordVPN or Express. They are more trustworthy and have greater speeds.
3. Visit safe sites
Oftentimes the best way of protection is simply making sure that the sites you’re visiting are trustworthy. To do this, look out for the warnings from your browser. Also, check if there’s a lock symbol in the address bar – it means that the site is secured with SSL. Essentially, it’s an additional layer of protection.
Another good idea is to use a safety-checking website like Trust Pilot. All you have to do is to enter the address of the site you want to use in the search bar and check. Such sites let actual internet users give reviews about different sites.
Finally, check the site’s contact information, something like an email, phone number, etc. If you manage to find this, it’s likely to be reliable. What is more, you can see if the site is really located in the country they claim to be in. For this, you can use a service like Domain Tools.
4. Use strong passwords or a password service
One of the most essential things for online security is to use strong passwords. Don’t use one password for several websites or services. When you create a new password, make it very unique by using numbers, letters, and special characters.
If you have a hard time remembering all those strong passwords, use a service like the one implemented by Google Chrome and Firefox. They not only create reliable passwords for you, but they also save all of them to an account. So as long as you’re logged into that account, the browser will remember the passwords.
When you first enter a password, look for a drop-down box for suggestions for a strong, randomized password. If you choose to go with the suggested password, the browser is going to save it automatically. If you’d like to come up with the passwords on your own, click on the key icon in your address bar to save the password.
5. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2-FA)
Many online services offer one form of 2FA or another. 2FA requires you to have access to another device or account to verify that you really are who you say you are. This makes it harder for hackers to get access to your online accounts. Look for ‘Security’ or ‘Log-In’ settings in various online accounts, and try to find ‘two-factor authentication’, or ‘two-stage login’, and follow the instructions you’ll see there to activate it.