Amid the hustle of daily life, it can occasionally be difficult to be entirely smart about how you use the internet. Even so, remaining vigilant as your work or play online is critical to staying safe online. Threats to online privacy come in many forms. Whether it’s dangerous drive-by downloads from malicious websites, phishing attempts, or the dreaded violation of privacy, it’s clear that you need to take action fast. Keeping your data safe isn’t something you do once and forget about. It requires a significant time investment, some knowledge, and the right tools for the job. These five tips will help you protect your privacy whenever you spend time online.

Use An Antivirus

Outside of a firewall in a common sense approach to browsing the internet, antivirus is always a good idea. Viruses and malware can infect your computer and cause all sorts of issues. If you notice a significant slowdown of your computer, any strange behavior in your browser, browser hijacking, start-up issues, or that your files are being rearranged, then you might have a virus. Using an antivirus, firewall, and performing regular scan/check ups on your computer’s health is vital for staying safe and private wow computing.

Use A VPN

Guarding yourself against malware is important, but protecting your privacy is essential. One of the best methods for protecting your privacy online is to use a virtual private network. A VPN is a simple program that routes all of your traffic through a tunnel across different servers to make your browsing experience private. Furthermore, a VPN in your data so that  attackers cannot get to it. There are many compelling reasons to get a VPN or your devices. The Privacy factor is first and foremost the most essential, but it can also protect you from certain dangerous websites, speed up your browsing experience, enable access to different websites/streaming content, and much more. The best route to go is a stand-alone pro VPN because it can cover multiple devices, has 24-hour support, and is available at a low price point.

Learn To Recognize Phishing Scams

Harkening back to the halcyon days of America Online, phishing scams have almost always been a popular method used by attackers. Phishing is a pretty big scamming enterprise. 22% of all cyberattacks are spawned by successful phishing attempts. On top of that, phishing can lead to the successful delivery of various malware and ransomware payloads. So it goes without saying that preventing phishing is critical to staying safe online. To guard yourself against phishing, you should start by educating yourself about how it works. Phishing emails often take the guise of a legitimate source or someone you know personally. The form, function, and layout of the message might look remarkably close to the real thing. But there will be subtle differences, such as the odd grammatical error or an incorrect website address. When you hover over the link URL, it will route to something totally different. For instance, if the phishing email is pretending to be from PayPal, it might look like a form letter from the company. Upon closer inspection, you might notice the URL leads to a completely different address or that it asks you for money. These are typically phishing red flags. Usually, if an email is asking you to click a link to verify personal (or financial) details or is something you don’t recognize, you may be looking at a phishing attempt. As phishing becomes more aggressive and prevalent, it’s important to take steps to ensure you—or your friends and family—don’t unwittingly fall victim to one as you live and work online.

Avoid Suspicious Sites

Going hand-in-hand with watching out for phishing attempts, it’s prudent to avoid suspicious websites. If you’ve ever been browsing the web and come across legitimate-appearing websites only to find out they’re not, you’re not alone. It happens to many internet users every day. URLs should look correct. If there is anything off about it, then don’t go any further. Dangerous websites can infect your system with malware via drive-by download, so be wary of them. Watch out for any product that seems like it might be too good to be true. Above all, never, ever enter your personal data into a website that seems suspicious. Don’t forget to watch out for pop-ups and unexpected ads! HTTPS protocols refer to secure websites and some browsers have a lock icon showing the secure nature of the site. Some antivirus programs and VPNs can make it easier to discover or notice a suspicious website, so be sure to use any available tools to your advantage whenever you’re browsing the web.

Watch Your Social Media Settings

In the early days of the web, forums were the primary means of conversing online. As the technology evolved, blogging, vlogging, and social media began to take off. Today, social media use is prevalent and widespread. So, of course you need to make sure you’re using it securely. Safeguard your account by using two-factor authentication, a strong password, and not sharing your credentials with others. You should also regularly update your apps and keep especially email for your social accounts, rather than time them into emails that you use for work or finances. Regular monitoring will also go a long way to ensuring your social media information is not compromised. Staying on top of your accounts and their security is critical to enjoying social media to its full extent while keeping yourself safe at the same time.

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