How safe are you on the internet? Are you sufficiently knowledgeable to detect a scam e-mail message, would you click on an ad “I have a million euros for you” and who would you use a password longer than 5 words (and not the name of a son or daughter)? Here are some useful tips to enhance internet security and protect your data.
What damage can be caused by a hack?
Hacking your accounts can mean a lot of damage – hacking into online banks, crypto accounts, fund, stock, and other investment accounts, hacking into social media profiles (phone numbers, home address), writing messages, and damaging your circle of friends on social networks, stealing photos and using your face or your children’s face with the help of artificial intelligence for the use of pornography, complete dysfunction of the computer by uploading viruses, as well as identity theft.
Not only individuals are at risk of hacking, but also medium-sized and large companies that store a large amount of data on salaries, employees, customers, business partners… Are you aware of the amount of this data?
As technology becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, staying safe on the internet is crucial to a long, worry-free life. Although the new times bring many innovations and benefits, at the same time some are working hard to rob us of material or intellectual property.
The key is to recognize a potential intrusion and protect ourselves against it as much as possible.
Internet safety tips
Pay close attention to passwords
Passwords are an integral part of every profile you need these days. DO NOT share passwords with anyone and DO NOT write them in obvious places, e.g. on a post-it note next to the monitor or in the wallet. Keep your password safe so that no one but you can access it.
You can help yourself with applications that allow unencrypted access to all the passwords you have stored in the application – LastPass or 1Password. To access this application, you usually only need the main one, i.e. master password, which allows you to enter the library of your passwords. This solution is suitable for those who can remember well and set only the main password. All the others are stored based on this main password.
The rule of thumb is that the longer the password, the more time it takes the hacker to figure it out. Always use a rather long password and include (random, not 123) numbers and special characters. Example password: SmartNinjaHasAG00dP4ssw0rd$.
If symbols and capital letters are a problem for you, a good example of a password is a made-up, random phrase: smartninjahasapasswordnotevenchucknorriswouldfigureout.
It is also very important not to repeat passwords. Set a special password for each occasion. Change your password every few months. Also, don’t use social media login. Example: You are signed in to Gmail. If every application or website allows you to register by signing in to your Gmail account, you can either inadvertently share information from Gmail, or increase the chance that when your Gmail account is hacked, the registration of ALL the accounts you used this sign-in method with will also be obtained.
Two-factor authentication was created to prevent hacking into important social networks and applications. We strongly recommend that you enable 2FA (2-factor authentication), which connects several of your devices more securely. Thus, when hacking into social networks, a fraudster would e.g. need an SMS message on the phone (which he does not have), access to the Google Authenticator application (which he also does not have access to), or a connection to e.g. Gmail application (which, if you have a different password, he also has no access to).
What personal information do you share?
In the last few years, social networks in particular have put a lot of emphasis on giving you as a user the ability to check exactly what you share with the world. We highly recommend that you take an hour to check the amount of personal data you are sharing with tech giants like Google Meta, Threads, Tiktok, BeReal. Example: Credit cards, personal home addresses, and phone numbers are usually sensitive information without which you can still use the app. Remove this information.
Even photos are personal data
Pay particular attention to things that are not so obvious at first glance. It may be clear to you that credit card information or home addresses are not shared, but a huge amount of information is shared with a photo! For example, a photo of your first grader in front of your house or the elementary school he will attend from now on. Avoid photos that show the faces of minors in any way, as well as those where the location of the photo shoot is clearly visible.
Above all, the increase in TikTok profiles is problematic, since the vast majority of them are created by minors. If necessary, children should use fake names or nicknames, the username should never be firstname.lastname, firstname_lastname or firstnamelastname. It is certainly suitable for the elderly as well, but you decide about it yourself. Nickname example: sushilover06.
What are you really clicking?
Online fraudsters are increasingly adept at disguising fake messages and making them appear genuine. Nowadays, it is even more difficult for professionals to distinguish which e-mail is from the Post Offices or online banks. The rule of thumb we use ourselves is … Don’t click anything. An online bank or any company that deals with your finances will not send simple e-mails where you have to click on links. You can also simply ignore the messages of the mail delivery people because, in 90% of cases, they call you over the phone now.
Another rule that may be more for experts: check the e-mail domain and check on the website whether it comes from the right address. Do NOT click anything.
They will never just take your profile
Don’t click any links that threaten to take over your profile because you haven’t provided enough information. Nothing will happen, the profile on the social network cannot disappear by itself.
Do not open attachments that are not for you.
If you don’t expect an attachment from acquaintances or business partners, don’t open anything. Zip attachments are a great tool for downloading a virus to your computer by extracting it or allowing fraudsters to take control of your computer in some other way. No more help from here on out.
We advise against using unlocked, open WI-FI providers. As a rule, the smartphone itself indicates whether it is a secured or unsecured connection. We do not recommend connecting to unsecured connections. If it is necessary, close all recent activities on the phone (so that the applications do not run in the background) and do only useless things – messenger chat, scrolling through social networks, etc. DO NOT open online banks or crypto accounts!
Save the data
Old school is still a pretty good idea… Sometimes it’s good to have some data stored on some other device (external drives, old computer). We suggest that you do this once every three months and back up all files, photos, and other data to another device.
Better safe than sorry!
Do not ignore messages about “software updates”
If an app or service asks you to update an app or program on your computer, do so. It is usually a system update upgrade, which also includes security updates. Update regularly!
So, these are some simple tips that will significantly improve your internet security. On this day, we join initiatives, academic institutions, and companies that are aware of the importance of digital literacy, understanding technology, and protecting their data and that of others from internet thieves.