Millions of people across the globe are preyed upon each year by cybercriminals. The FBI reported that in 2015, consumers lost over a billion dollars to these predators. To celebrate “Safer Internet Day,” which is held annually each year on February 7th, Chelsea Groton Bank wants to help consumers protect themselves in the virtual world. Here are 7 tips to safeguard against potential threats online and promote a more secure browsing experience.
1. Keep Devices Updated
All devices within your home need to stay updated as a general rule of thumb. Updates mean your devices have the latest browser functions and changes to operating systems, and it also means they have the latest defenses provided by security software such as XDR. The best way to handle this is to select automatic updates for all your computers and mobile devices.
2. Strong Passwords
What constitutes a strong password? All passwords should contain both numbers and symbols and should be a minimum of eight characters. Additionally, consumers should use uppercase letters in addition to lowercase letters when creating strong passwords.
3. Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are more prevalent than ever before these days in the digital world. Fake sites are prepared as phishing scams, and another way these cybercriminals prey on consumers is by sending out fraudulent emails. These criminals are out to steal personal information, and before you dismiss their efforts as elementary, understand that these emails and sites are often quite deceptive. Always check sources, and when in doubt, do not click links or attachments. Be aware of pop-ups, too, and always report fraudulent activity to the FTC.
4. Safeguard Personal Information
Social media is all about sharing personal information. The digital world nowadays would have you believe that your data is safe, but that is not the case. Hackers love to utilize information found within the profiles of consumers using various social media platforms. Always familiarize yourself with privacy settings, and be sure not to post pertinent personal information, such as your birthday and physical address. Additionally, refrain from connecting with people you do not know.
5. Secure Connection
Take steps to secure your home’s internet connection to help safeguard your personal information. One important step to take is to create a strong password for your network. When you do use a public connection, it is best not to access sites or apps that contain private and sensitive data about you. For example, you would not want to use public Wifi to access your private bank accounts.
6. Safe Shopping
Do not shop online using a public connection. Additionally, be sure that you are on a trusted site when you buy anything on the web. This rule of thumb is not just about brand recognition. Online shopping should only be done via secure sites, meaning web addresses start with “https.” Additionally, be sure the lock symbol is prominently displayed in the address bar.
7. Read Privacy Policies