How to Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe Online

Contributer's Content.

The internet has revolutionised society, and there are many ways technology has changed our lives for the better. But, like with all good things, it has a cost. Cybercrime is rife these days, and anyone using the internet is vulnerable. Hackers are constantly developing more complex ways to steal identities and carry out financial fraud. The result is that you must be vigilant when protecting your household against cybercrime. If you want to discover the best way to do this, take a look at our comprehensive guide below on how to keep yourself and your family safe online.

person using a laptop - staying safe online
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) is a tool which masks your unique IP (internet network) address and creates a new one. The result is a secure, encrypted connection which keeps your identity, location and browsing activity hidden. A VPN is safer than a secure wi-fi network because it creates an extra layer of privacy. Always choose a well-reputed VPN provider–the best ones usually charge a subscription fee.

Educate Children and Monitor Internet Activity

Another way to stay safe on the internet is by monitoring internet activity. You should regularly check your browser history to spot suspicious activity from potential hackers. Monitoring browser activity is crucial, especially if you have children because you can monitor their friend requests and ensure they use safe apps and websites.

As a responsible parent, it is your responsibility to make your children aware of the potential threats that exist on the internet. Tell them how to identify suspicious apps, web pages and emails and not to give personal information out online or accept random friend requests.

Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is crucial for internet security because it detects malware and stops it from infecting your computer or device. It thoroughly analyses the risks of websites and files and blocks malicious ones from harming your computer or stealing private information. You should choose a trusted antivirus service, which often comes with a monthly subscription. Keep the software updated and ensure you make payments, especially if you start with a free trial. 

Keep Personal Information Private

Another top tip for staying secure online is to be very careful about what personal information you put on public websites. Never put details such as your date of birth, address or workplace. Hackers can use this information to steal your identity and to guess your passwords. Use encrypted, secure platforms to share personal information over the internet. 

Only Purchase From Secure Sites

Only use secure, encrypted websites for financial transactions to prevent financial fraud. You can tell if a website is secure by the address in the browser. If the address begins with HTTPS, it means the website is secure and will scramble data to keep it safe from hackers. If the address begins with HTTP, it means the website is not encoded, and you should not share any personal details with it.

If you and your family want to use an online site, such as a casino, where you must enter card details, always ensure it takes you to a page or site with a secure address. You can also read reviews to verify the site’s safety. For example, if you are thinking of trying out a casino site like Sun Vegas, search online for an extensive review of Sun Vegas. If a site has multiple pop-up ads, it may be risky. Don’t hang around these pages because the longer you stay, the more likely you will be infected with malware.

Beware of Phishing Scams

Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and new scams are constantly emerging, so be vigilant against potential threats. Many phishing scams come through emails or social media accounts, so never accept friend requests from strangers or respond to suspect emails. 

If an email initially seems suspicious, then it probably is. Sure signs of a scam email are poor grammar and punctuation, an urgent tone, or requests and even demands for you to send money or bank details. No reputable business will ever ask you to send bank details via email. You can also check the sender’s email address. If the address is a random Hotmail or Gmail address, it’s probably fake. 

Be Cautious With Public Hotspots

Public internet hotspots are an easy-picking ground for hackers. Information you send on a public network is easy to access, so as a rule, you should never trust them. Never make purchases on a public network or send personal information. If you regularly use a public network, you should invest in a VPN to ensure your safety. 

Optimise Your Privacy and Security Settings

To optimise your internet security, check the security and privacy settings on your devices, browsers and wi-fi connection. The privacy settings are often off as default, so ensure you switch them on. If your privacy settings are off, websites and hackers can easily access your data. If your internet network is WPA or WEP, change it to WPA2, which uses Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) and is more secure.

Use Strong Passwords

Using strong passwords is one of the best steps to ensure internet safety in the household. Always use secure, random personal and network passwords and have a unique one for each app and site. Never use personal information such as names or dates to create passwords. One of the best ways to create and manage passwords is with a password generator and master password. 

To stay safe online, you should also enable Two-Step Verification (2SV) for passwords on your browser. 2SV provides extra security because it asks for two identity proofs, like a password and verification code from a personal device.

Summary

To keep yourself and your family safe online, install an antivirus on your network and ensure your privacy and security settings are switched on and up to date. Use a VPN for extra security, or if you spend a lot of time on public networks, don’t use passwords or share personal information on public wi-fi if you don’t have a VPN. Never publish your personal information online, and use strong passwords for each app and website. Finally, monitor your children’s online activity and teach them how to use the internet safely.

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