The Internet offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate. To make the most of the web, you need to know how to keep yourself safe and secure. Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, the advice and tools here can help you navigate the web safely and securely.
Secure your passwords
Passwords are the first line of defense against cybercriminals. It is crucial to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts, and it’s a good practice to update your passwords regularly. The following tips are recommended to create strong passwords and keep them secure.
- Use a unique password for each of your important accounts like email and online banking, etc. - Choosing the same password for each of your online accounts is like using the same key to lock your home, car and office – if a criminal gains access to one, all of them are compromised. For this reason, do not use the same password for an online newsletter as you do for your email or bank account. It may be less convenient, but picking multiple passwords keeps you safer.
- Use a long password made up of numbers, letters and symbols - The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. So make your password long to help keep your information safe. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed- case letters makes it harder for would- be snoops or others to guess or crack your password. Please don’t use ‘123456’ or ‘password,’ and avoid using publicly available information like your phone number in your passwords. It’s not very original, and it isn’t very safe!
- Try using a phrase that only you know - One idea is to think of a phrase that only you know, and make it be related to a particular website to help you remember it. For your email you could start with “My friends Akshay and Sheetal send me a funny email once a day” and then use numbers and letters to recreate it. “MfA&Ssmafe1ad” is a password with lots of variations. Then repeat this process for other sites.
- Set up your password recovery options and keep them up-to-date
- If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send an email to you at a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure your recovery email address is up -to-date and an account you can still access.
- Sometimes you can also add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe. Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.
- However, if you can’t or don’t want to add a phone number to your account, many websites may ask you to choose a question to verify your identity in case you forget your password. If the service you’re using allows you to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know and isn’t something that you’ve posted about publicly or shared on social media. Try to find a way to make your answer unique but memorable – you can do this by using the tip above – so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won’t know how to enter it properly. This answer is very important for you to remember – if you forget it you may never be able to get back into your account.
Prevent identity theft
Knowing the common tricks that criminals employ will help you protect yourself from online fraud and identity theft. Here are a few simple tips:
- Don’t reply if you see a suspicious email, an instant message or a webpage asking for your personal or financial information.
- Never enter your password if you’ve arrived at a site by following a link in an email or a chat that you don’t trust.
- Don’t send your password via email, and don’t share it with others.
- If you see a message from someone you know but it doesn’t seem like it’s from them, their account might have been compromised by a cybercriminal who is trying to get money or information from you. Be careful how you respond, or don’t respond at all.
- Common tactics include asking you to urgently send them money, claiming to be stranded in another country or saying that their phone has been stolen so they cannot be called. The message might also tell you to click on a link to see a picture, an article or a video, which actually leads you to a site that might steal your information. Think before you click!
Safeguard your email accounts
- Make sure your email is not getting forwarded or shared unless you want it to be. Check forwarding and delegation email settings that grant others access to your account to make sure your email is being directed properly.
- If you forget your password, you need a way to get back into your account
- You may receive a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure that recovery email address is up -to-date and is an account you can access.
- You can also add a phone number to email account to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe. Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.
- Check for unusual access or activity in your account
- Regularly review your account for unfamiliar or suspicious activity.
- Click on the “details” link at the very bottom of the page to find the most recent IP addresses your mail was accessed from, and their associated locations.
- If you see suspicious account activity, immediately change your password and logout of your account.
- When you’re signing into your email, you should check to make sure the web address begins with https:// (and not just “http://”). This signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering.
Ensure your device safety
If you’re getting redirected or seeing pop- up ads, unwanted toolbars, or strange search results, your computer may have malware. Malware is software designed to damage and take control of your computer.
Source : Consumer Go Safely Digital Campaign.
- Remove malware from your computer or browser
- Check your computer for programs you don’t recognize, and uninstall them.
- Use the browser reset feature to undo the changes you see and get your settings back to normal.
- Use antivirus software to detect and remove malware from your computer.
- Keep your browser and operating system up to date. Most operating systems will let you know you when it’s time to upgrade – don’t ignore these messages. Old versions of software can sometimes have security problems that criminals can use to easily get to your data.
- Keep an eye on what you click and download.
- Without meaning to, you may click a link that installs malware on your computer. To keep your computer safe, only click links and downloads from sites that you trust.
- Don’t open any unknown file types, or download programs from pop- ups that appear in your browser.
- Also pay attention to the fine print details and any auto -checked checkboxes when downloading.
- Make sure that you understand what programs are being installed.
- When in doubt, throw it out - Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
- Think before you act - Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
- Don’t get caught by phishers - Phishing is when you get an email or a social media message that looks like it’s coming from a legitimate place such as a bank or social networking site. If you click on a link in the message, you're taken to a website that looks legitimate but could be run by criminals trying to trick you to sign in with your username and password so they can capture that information. Your best bet is not to click on the link but rather type the web address into your browser window and go to the site that way.
- Be careful where you click - Fake or malicious websites (or legitimate ones that have been hacked by criminals) can jeopardize your device and the data on it. Sometimes called “drive-by downloads,” these sites can install malicious software onto your device if you visit them or perhaps click on the sites’ links. Often they look legitimate, offer something too good to be true or contain some type of inappropriate or illegal content.
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