5 tips for safer surfing

Here are five simple tips to keep in mind that will go a long way towards keeping you safe while surfing online.

1. Log out from services

When you’re done with a banking session or with another account where you have sensitive information, be sure to log out and close your browsing window. This is a good habit to get into for any device you’re on, even if it’s your personal smartphone, and obviously a must when you’re at an internet café.

Logging out helps reduce the chance of being a victim of a cross-site request forgery attack, where an attacker can make your browser send requests to sites you are logged into. Such as requesting a bank transfer, for example.

2. Be aware of phishing

Phishing is when an attacker tricks you into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious email attachment. Attackers use phishing to infect your device with malware, or to steal your login credentials. The latter is achieved by sending you to a web login page that looks legitimate but is actually just a bogus page designed to fool you into entering your login information.

To protect yourself from phishing, be on your guard with email. If you receive an email that seems slightly out of the ordinary, perhaps something you weren’t expecting or from a sender you don’t know, be suspicious and take extra care before clicking links or opening attachments. And remember that phishing isn’t only via email – you can receive phishing links in instant messages or chats as well.

3. Use unique passwords

We get it. Using the same password for logging in to multiple accounts is just way easier. The only problem is, it makes things easier for hackers, too. Password hacking is huge, and hackers have all kinds tricks to do it.

This is why using a unique, strong password for every account where you have information you want to protect is a must. For bank accounts, email accounts, social networks, anywhere you have sensitive information, protect your accounts with a unique, strong password.

4. Take back-ups

What if one day your device was locked and you couldn’t access any of your important documents, photos or videos? Ransomware happens. Ransomware is a type of malware that, after infecting your computer, encrypts the files on it and demands a ransom fee for decryption. So it’s never a bad idea to take backups just in case your device ever gets lost, stolen or just goes on the blink.

5. Keep your software up to date

Software is written by humans, and humans make mistakes. Therefore, no software is perfect. That’s why software can sometimes end up with flaws that can allow access in ways that compromise security. Cyber criminals can scan the internet for computers running old software versions with flaws and then target those computers specifically with their exploit programs.

Software companies also discover their own security flaws, and when they do, they roll out software updates with fixes. This is why you need to keep your software up to date – to keep the very latest, best software versions that are least likely to have flaws criminals know about. So next time you get that update notification, pay attention and keep your software up to date.

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