I’ve discussed a number of things over the last week about using the Internet safely and more securely. There are so many things to think about and consider. Which ones are the most important? Where should you start?
To get started on using the Internet more securely, I think these 5 suggestions are the most important ones to focus on initially.
- Protect your device with a firewall AND antivirus and antimalware programs. With some phones, the firewall and antivirus is built into the device’s operating system (e.g. the iPhone). There’s really nothing to do but keep your operating system updated to the current version. Laptops are a different matter. They need a firewall. Sometimes, the device comes with a firewall and all you need to do is activate it. Ensuring your device has these programs on and working is a great start.
- Encrypt your Internet transmissions. When you’re using an unsecured wireless network, which is just about everywhere you connect outside of your home nowadays, people nearby you can easily intercept the information you are sending/receiving with just a few simple tools. When you encrypt your Internet traffic, they cannot do this. Protect yourself. The primary ways to encrypt your Internet browsing are the following:
- Use secure websites. Their web address (URL) begins with “https”.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network) – one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. If you’re not using a VPN, then you should.
- Use an encrypted hotspot such as Boingo – it’s not that expensive when you’re on the road going from one place to another.
- Password-protect all of your devices and accounts. Create strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Set a passcode, or even better a password phrase, to access your devices.
- Do NOT click on links, attachments, pop-ups or anything similar unless you trust 100% that it’s safe and does not have a virus or malware. If you have any doubts, run an antivirus scan before opening it.
- Connect to the correct wireless network. If you connect to a nearby hacker’s personal hotspot that has a similar name to the coffee house you’re in, you’re going to be in trouble.
After you implement these 5 recommendations, then go through each of the “Using the Internet More Securely” blogs and review the suggestions one-by-one. Many are simple to do. Many are good browsing habits that don’t require any pre-work. You determine which ones you want to implement or use on a daily basis.
I think it very important, in today’s world, that you understand what the general risks are, know the basics about how to browse the web securely and definitely understand the capabilities of your device. Hackers are going to continue breaking into systems and stealing information. It’s only going to get worse. Devices are becoming more sophisticated and manufacturers are trying to keep up. No one is going to take responsibility to protect you except you. You can no longer just rely on getting tips from the next person. You need a place to find the answers. I think this weeklong series is a great start.
Keep yourself informed by reading articles and blogs on this subject. Find yourself a couple of good, informative websites and follow their articles. A good place to start would be the websites that I linked to throughout this series of blogs. Continue to return to my website as I will follow-up on this subject, from time to time, with updates, changes and things for you to consider.
In the meantime, I will continue to provide some great reading on many travel subjects.
Good luck and happy browsing. Send me a comment with any Internet questions you have. I’ll be happy to provide my point of view.