Today, the Internet is an integral part of our daily lives. It affects everyone, even those who are unaware of it. Computers, the plethora of gadgets, digital marketing, e-commerce, national governments, regulators and censors, various websites - they all get information about you for their own needs. They create diversified databases for different purposes, using your information however they want. In most cases, this is done to increase your time online by getting you interested in ads, content, and other resources on a topic of interest to you. In the worst case, it can lead to a situation when a criminal can use the information about you to your detriment, to violate your personal security. Experienced Internet users enter the Internet with great caution. They guard carefully to protect their devices, software, personal data, Internet connections and their digital footprint on the Internet.
The main mistake is made by those users who don't fully understand what the Internet is. It is not a machine, not a thing you can see or touch. The Internet is a way of connecting information networks. In the early days of the Internet, it was used by large corporations and government agencies, which had their own local networks, to connect many users into one system to exchange information.
Nowadays, almost everyone, people and organizations alike, have at least one device that they use to go online for information, online shopping, social networking, or whatever else, but not everyone realizes that most sites collect information about you and your area of interest. Now you understand that the Internet, besides the undeniable pluses, has a huge disadvantage - a potential security threat. The winner is the one who is able to take the Internet under his own control, to limit access of unauthorized persons to his information, to his IP, to protect his connections with additional encryption layers from unwanted curiosity or control.
Useful tips and tricks for safer use of the Internet
- Use / Update your Virus Protection
Believe it or not, there are still people surfing the web without virus protection, or without updated virus protection. This is the first line of defense for any Internet user and one of the most important steps in any online security scheme. No one can ever know when they will encounter an infected file, website, or user who will or will not infect their device. The good thing is that there are now many anti-virus programs available for download, and most of them control automatic software updates, safeguarding against a multitude of threats.
- Use a firewall
Anti-Malware software alone is not enough; adding a firewall is a must because they perform different functions. An anti-malware program protects devices from suspicious, malicious software that can compromise the security of the software installed on your devices. A firewall is more of a universal precaution, like a doorman who lets people enter a room, a firewall gives the approval to download new software to your device. If a threat does get through the firewall, an anti-malware program steps in to remove it, like a bouncer kicking a bully out of a nightclub.
- Take control of your passwords
Password management is critical to digital security. Yes, it's a hassle to set up all those passwords. It annoys you that every site has different requirements: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols, numbers, combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. But the Internet community forces you to do it for your own benefit, forcing you to use different passwords and change them regularly. Think about it, a malicious user runs a program which searches the network, looks for the combination / password of your username, and then compares it with every known mail server. If you have the same password for all your other accounts, once he figures out your password, he can log into your e-mail account and access whatever he wants: your bank, your credit cards, your retirement accounts.
- Use only secure sites
All security measures are meaningless if you connect to an untested, unsafe website. Immediately after connecting, you're vulnerable and could suffer data loss, or worse. The first thing to look at is the HTTPS header in the web page address, the “S” at the end is responsible for the security and is an extended version of the old HTTP. Another sign that you are using a secure site is the padlock symbol next to the web address or the TRUSTe emblem. Whenever you transfer data or make a purchase, make sure an SSL-encrypted connection is available.
- Use a VPN
VPNs used to be designed to connect remote users to the corporate network of mega-corporations or government agencies; now VPNs are a commercial product available to all Internet users. A VPN creates a point-to-point connection that is securely encrypted and routed through remote servers. This provides a secure and anonymous connection (your IP address is replaced by the IP address of the remote VPN server). Information is sent through a secure tunnel that starts from your device and ends at the destination address. This means that hackers and/or malicious programs cannot penetrate your connection or device. VPN service is most often used to protect connections when using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, unblock geo-restricted content on international sites and ensure privacy, prevent the spread of personal information and anonymity while surfing the web.
- Use the Internet right
The Internet is connecting the world together in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. However, along with all the benefits come many risks. Users need to be aware of these risks and know how to protect themselves from them so that web surfing brings pleasure and benefit rather than frustration and trouble. Every Internet user should definitely take steps to protect themselves, but the main one is the one used by the world's mega-corporations and government agencies. That step is VPNs, which offer the only security system that ensures your data, connections and devices are protected.