Top Tips For Students To Stay Safe Online
Now that most of us have switched to online modes of learning and are heavily dependent on technology throughout the day, it is important to assess whether we are safe on the internet, or not. In recent days, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding privacy concerns on WhatsApp, and many people have migrated to other messaging portals including Telegram and Signal. As students, we need to be extra cautious about our safety and security online, ensuring that no one has access to our personal information and content. To do so, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind for a stress-free online presence.
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Let’s get right into some of the best practices you need to take uop to make your presence safer on the net.
Look Into Your Privacy Settings
Marketers love to know all about you, and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and social media usage. But you can take charge of your information. Both web browsers and mobile operating systems have settings available to protect your privacy online. Major websites like Facebook also have privacy-enhancing settings available. These settings are sometimes (deliberately) hard to find because companies want your personal information for its marketing value. Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards, and keep them enabled.
- Check privacy settings to see who can view posts.
- Go through “friends” lists and remove people who should not be there.
- Search posts and remove any that they wouldn’t want a parent, teacher, employer or college official to see.
- Look at tagged images that others have posted.
Use a Secure Connection
Forget about joining random wifi networks, make sure you check your network safety first. Corporate cybersecurity experts worry about “endpoints”—the places where a private network connects to the outside world. Your vulnerable endpoint is your local Internet connection. Make sure your device is secure, and when in doubt, wait for a better time (i.e., until you’re able to connect to a secure Wi-Fi network) before providing information such as your bank account number.
To further improve your Internet browsing safety, use secure VPN connection (virtual private network). VPN enables you to have a secure connection between your device and an Internet server that no one can monitor or access the data that you’re exchanging.
Search Engine Safety Etiquettes
- Log out of internet browsers before searching (staying logged in can affect the results).
- Search (using quotation marks) full legal names, nicknames and usernames.
- Search Google Images with names/usernames.
- Use multiple browsers, such as Chrome, Bing, Yahoo, Safari and Firefox.
- Look beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep until the name/username no longer appears. Take note of what kind of results appear (presentations/social media/images/etc.).
Browse Safe, Download Safe
Ddon’t visit dangerous neighborhoods online. Cybercriminals use lurid content as bait. They know people are sometimes tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down when searching for it. The Internet’s demimonde is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. By resisting the urge, you don’t even give the hackers a chance. Furthermore, the top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. Don’t download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.
Make Your Passwords Stronger
Passwords are one of the biggest weak spots in the whole Internet security structure, but there’s currently no way around them. And the problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember (such as “password” and “123456”), which are also easy for cyber thieves to guess. Select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to demystify. A Password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don’t forget them. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 15 characters long, mixing letters, numbers and special characters.
Think Twice Before You Post Anything
Do not get carried away on social media. Any comment or image you post online may stay online forever because removing the original (say, from Twitter) does not remove any copies that other people made. There is no way for you to “take back” a remark you wish you hadn’t made, or get rid of that embarrassing selfie you took at a party. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your mom or a prospective employer to see.
Shop Only From Secure Sites
Be it books, stationery or clothes, always check if the site you are using is secure. Any time you make a purchase online, you need to provide credit card or bank account information—just what cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. Only supply this information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can identify secure sites by looking for an address that starts with https: (the S stands for secure) rather than simply http: They may also be marked by a padlock icon next to the address bar.
Practice Internet Safety On Your Phone
Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.
Stay Away From Clickbaits
Now that you’ve put smart tech measures into place, make sure that you don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information.
And this is exactly how you can be safe online! For more such informational and helpful blogs, be sure to browse through our website!