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Cyber Security Privacy World Wide Web

Tips to safely surf the web

Everyone who surfs the web should be aware of the risks. More and more criminals are using the internet to get to your personal data. Here are 6 tips to prevent cyber attacks.

Almost 62% of Americans had to deal with a “Phishing” attempt. For example: you receive an email that appears to be from your bank asking you to click on a link and enter your username and password. However, the email was not from your bank but from criminals, who have conveniently found a way to get your login details. Fortunately, many Americans nowadays recognize such phishing emails. Still, 1 out of 10 Americans have experienced abuse of their digital accounts, and there is a lot more happening on the internet. Ad networks unnoticeably map out which websites you visit. This way they build an entire profile with information about you which companies pay a lot of money for. Does this mean that we are seriously concerned about our security and privacy on the Internet? On the contrary, most people think they will get your information anyway. But if you don’t try to prevent it, they can cause you more harm than good. Therefore some tips to prevent cybercrime and protect your digital privacy.

Use a password manager.

Most people have between 10 and 20 online accounts (think about webmail, amazon, social media, etc). More than 1 out of 4 uses predominantly the same passwords for these accounts. Criminals who come into possession of a password often gain access to many accounts. The best solution is to choose a different password for each account. But how do you remember all those passwords? Install a “password manager”. This is where you store all your passwords with one central password. This password needs to be unique and extra hard to crack.

Anti-virus software and firewalls.

1 out of 5 people aren’t using antivirus software on their computers or laptop. But also firewalls are turned off to keep cyber attacks out. Take a look at your own computer and see if you have turned on your firewall. If you haven’t, learn how to turn this on and make sure you get some antivirus software installed.

Surf via a VPN connection.

“VPN” stands for “Virtual Private Network”. A VPN connection is a great way to protect your privacy and online safety. A VPN encrypts all your data traffic. Your unique IP address (associated with your connection) is also masked. That way your privacy is better protected. Please note: all your data traffic will then go through the VPN provider and you must therefore be able to trust this party. Therefore choose a paid version and research carefully which provider is known as reliable.

Use an ad blocker.

When you surf the web, it continuously tracks which websites you visit. That way, ad networks build detailed profiles of you. These are not linked to your name but to the IP address and other characteristics of the computer with which you access the web. With these profiles, advertising networks can make you targeted commercial offers. But they also sell your profile to other (commercial) parties. If you don’t want this, install an ad blocker.

Use a webcam shutter

It is a very unpleasant idea that someone can watch what you are doing through the camera on your computer. The chance that your camera will be hacked unnoticed and can be turned on and off remotely is not that great. But if it happens, it is of course a serious violation of your privacy. It would be best if manufacturers just included an old-fashioned “off switch”, but a slider over your webcam works just as well.

Make sure you have a backup.

A well-known form of cybercrime is ransomware. If hackers can install these on your computer, all your files will be encrypted and unusable. Transferring money to an anonymous bitcoin wallet will “unlock” your files, the criminals promise. And all you can do is hope they actually do. Anti-virus software does not always detect ransomware. That is why it is important to regularly back up your field to a separated hard drive. Note: always disconnect the drive from the computer after the backup. If you are a victim of ransomware, the best remedy is to completely format your computer. Then you can safely restore the backup files to your computer.

And there you have it, 6 tips on how to safely surf the internet. Of course, there are many more ways you can improve your online safety.

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