Looking for some online security tips to gain some peace of mind in this hacker-filled world? We have some ideas about what you can do to protect your data, whether it’s your Crunchyroll subscription or the details of a more important savings account. Reviewing internet safety guides and following cybersecurity best practices can keep you safe from the malicious intentions of the world at large.

Most everyone has experienced a security scare in the modern world, whether it’s parents breaking into your phone or an illegible text message asking you to update your password using a suspicious link that claims to lead to your bank account. We’ve moved on from Princes in distant lands sending emails to wire them money urgently, to schemes that are harder to distinguish as scams. This makes it very dangerous to be online—it increases your exposure to vulnerabilities—but it is also impossible to avoid technology these days. Staying up-to-date with the latest online security tips and implementing these best practices is a serious responsibility if you want to stay protected and keep your data safe.

Internet safety guide

Online Security Tips for You to Review Today

Giving Internet safety advice can be repetitive at times—change your password regularly, don’t reuse passwords, don’t click on suspicious links—a lot of it involves tips that you’ve already heard before. Despite that, email phishing attacks are some of the most common ways for malicious individuals to try and gain access to our data. When an email looks formal enough, we’re willing to click on the link to check the legitimacy of the email instead of verifying it from an official source, despite the warnings we’ve heard over and over again. 

A friend recently received an email to join the alumni association at our school and while he wondered about the legitimacy of the improperly punctuated email, he still clicked the link and signed up to reconnect with the familiar world of our past. Things worked out alright in this case—at least we think it did so far—but the email could’ve been sent by anyone who’d seen his LinkedIn and knew where he went to school. We might think we’re too knowledgeable to need cybersecurity tips, but reminding yourself of this internet safety advice might be a good idea. 

Use a VPN—Online Security Tip For Those Chronically Online

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a tool that allows you to mask your IP address and prevent any bots from tracking your data back to your location. There are a lot of benefits to using a VPN such as accessing geo-locked content or getting a better sale deal in a different location, but the primary purpose of using it is for your safety. Marking a critical point in our internet safety guide, a VPN can create a secure connection between your device and a remote server over the internet owned by the VPN provider, which lets you have a more private experience online.

There are many free VPN services available online that can help you with securing your connection, but the problem is that they only make you think you’re secure. Some of these can have slow, overcrowded servers, but more importantly, they can sell your data to third parties, defeating the entire purpose of using it. Paid subscription services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN are more regulated and offer better security protocols and encryption for you. Paid services often have some trial versions and free plans that you could consider, but avoid turning to entirely free VPN services that are not bound by any safety commitments to you.

Use a Multifactor Authentication Process Where Available

We’ve all been annoyed by Google’s panic mode when you log into Gmail on a new device but we should be more grateful to the service for checking that it’s really you. Next in our list of online security tips, consider using a multi-factor authentication (MFA) process when available and pay attention to log-in notifications when you receive them. A Multi-factor authentication process is done in different ways, but it essentially requires you to use your password and then confirm your identity through an alternate means again. 

This process ensures that someone who learns your password can’t log into your account with your biometrics or additional information that is sent to your account or your primary device. This is among the important cybersecurity best practices and you should consider turning it on whenever available on a new platform.

Don’t Click Accept All When A Website Asks You About Cookies

Saying no to cookies sounds like a criminal offense but it’s important for your own internet health. Cookies refer to the data notes the company wants to take of your browser activity and to some degree they can simplify your online experience by showing you data more relevant to your internet use. However, this data is often collected and sold to third-party services which can misuse it for their own gain. When you browse a website and then open Instagram to see ads for the product and other similar services, that’s only one example of how quickly your online data is used. If you want internet safety advice from us, then reject the cookies wherever possible. 

When you open a particular website, you are often prompted to accept all cookies. Many times you have no choice but to accept “necessary cookies,” but some websites will give you the option of reading which cookies you want to say yes to. Always say no to third-party cookies, newsletters, and whatever options it allows you to unselect. This can at least limit access to your data to some degree. Regularly going into your browser settings and clearing the cookies are also among cybersecurity best practices to consider.

Online Security Tips—Switch to Passkeys or Update Your Passwords Regularly

Whether it’s Nicholas Cage guessing the password to steal the Declaration of Independence or Sherlock Holmes getting access to CIA files because he realizes the owner of the files is a fan of Margaret Thatcher, we’ve all seen stories of how passwords can be guessed at. It may not be as easy in real life, but creating a truly unique password for each account that you can remember on the go is quite difficult. Internet safety advice that you’ve heard many times recommends you set strong passwords with a complex alphanumeric identity but if you’re unable to do it consistently, use passkeys when you can.

Passkeys are considered much safer than passwords due to their two-part nature and these can improve the security of your accounts quickly. If you aren’t able to find a passkey option and have to resort to passwords, then there are password managers available which can help you set complex passwords you won’t always need to remember. 

Avoid Public Networks On Principle—Cybersecurity Best Practices

We’ve normalized working out of coffee shops with free Wi-Fi but this isn’t always a safe option. These network connections are not as secure as a closed private network and it can be easier for malware to make its way onto your device. According to Kaspersky, it is much easier for hackers to position themselves between you and the server connection, allowing them to intercept a lot of the data you’re sending across as you work. 

Despite the risks, if you’re in a setting where it’s your only option, avoid conducting any sensitive data transactions over the network—save your banking work for when you get home and can use the network there instead. A VPN is also handy at times like this and you will not regret having an antivirus installed either. 

Close Accounts You No Longer Use—Internet Safety Guide 101

In the early days of the internet, there were innumerable shady websites that you might have made an account on that are still holding onto your data. Granted a lot of your personal information might have changed but you can never tell what data is still being shared onto those platforms. Over time when these websites are no longer maintained, they become much easier for hackers with updated tools to break into. There might be people masquerading as you on those services too, but you’ll never know because you haven’t checked. 

Try to limit the number of new accounts you create and when you stop using a service. This will also help you cancel any subscriptions you might still be paying for without realizing it. 

Monitor Activity on the Financial Front as an Additional Security Measure

Even if you’re very careful about your personal information and take these online security tips very seriously, there are always chances that data might be leaked elsewhere. AT&T recently experienced a data breach, presumably on a third-party platform, where customer details were leaked online. The company extended free credit monitoring services to those who had financial data leaked but who knows how much their information might have been misused already. 

It’s important to review your credit reports and track your accounts for any unusual activity so you can take action the moment you notice that things don’t add up.

Other online security tips include being careful of what you post online and updating your apps regularly so they have the latest security updates. Avoid downloading content without cross-checking the source, and overall, stay vigilant about the websites you’re visiting when you go online. The internet is a scary place, yes, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you keep an eye out for threats and stay up-to-date with the latest security protocols, you should be able to notice when something is amiss. With these cybersecurity best practices in place, you should be able to create a safe space for yourself online.