Brightcult.com_ Online security

How to stay safe online?

Ten tips to stay online?

1.  Keep your personal information private by restricting your audience.

Keep one thing on your mind just share information online which you would be comfortable sharing with people in person – don’t hand it out to millions of people online.

Because if Once something is posted online it stays there forever.

All the major social media sites have an option to keep your data private always keep the privacy settings on so that only a certain selected people can view your content.

If you are a blogger or an artist who wants to showcase your talent do maintain two different accounts one where you can publicly share your content and one where you can restrict your audience.

2.   Know the people you meet online before trusting them.

I am not going to say that you should completely refrain from talking strangers online, as people have had pen friends since ages now for constructive purposes like learning other cultures and languages.

But all you need to surely take care about is knowing the person before trusting them. Check their legitimacy on various platforms. Scammers often create fake profiles online and talk to people the can have any malicious intentions. Never give away information like your whereabouts or contact details to strangers. Don’t video call strangers and if they keep their camera off while yours in on you already know its fishy. Do not send your pictures to them, even by using the modern day disappearing feature provided by apps like Snapchat, Instagram, etc. Which prevent the receiver from taking screenshots or notifies the sender if reciever takes one. As these features are not at all foolproof and has many loopholes how screenshots can be still taken discretely.
 It can be used for larger crimes like

 Identity Theft – Using someone else’s identity as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, or simply creating a fake online profile in your name for foul purposes.

 Image Morphing – Cyber crooks superimpose your faces to a nude pornographic photograph and then ask ransom to not publish those images on porn websites.

Click here to see what morphed images look like.

3.   Use VPN for browsing.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, it is is an encrypted connection over the Internet from a device to a network. In layman’s language it is tunnel for information transfer where the data is safe.

Advantages of using VPN:

  • Your data remains safe as the information transfer is encrypted.
  • Access of banned website blocked by the government for a specific region for eg. YouTube was banned in PK people used VPN to access it. 
  • Bypass geographic restrictions for streaming services, for eg. if Netflix is not available in your region still you can access it using VPN.
  • Anonymity of location as it works on multiple hops, your location is difficult to trace.
  • Some VPNs also block unnecessary advertisements and pop up giving you a better browsing experience.

4.   Don’t click on random links and be a victim of phishing.

Phishing is a very common method of cyber criminals to lure people by making legit looking fake websites and links. This might be a mere data mining trick but people also fall prey by easily giving away their bank details or make transactions for some trivial benefits.

You may have came across many such messages on WhatsApp. Think before you you click on any link that you receive.

Have a closer look at the link here the “i” in the dmartindia is a special character which people overlook and just click on the links to get the free products.

Next time you receive such messages do not click on it and spread awareness to avoid [people from getting scammed.

5.   Be aware and alert of social engineering techniques.

Social engineering is an art of manipulating people so that they give away information.

You may have received mails that state you have won a lottery and many individuals fall prey to these scam by giving away what the scammer wants.



People also receive calls from conman posing as bank official and asking for card details and  victims give it away blatantly trusting them.
They just try to manipulate you by showing urgency so you take wrong decisions in a hurry, always slow down think over it and then initiate.

6.   Download only from trusted sources.

Remember everything free on the internet which you are supposed to pay for has a high risk of malware or a virus bound to it. All the pirated movies or applications you download for free can cost you a lot if it has a spyware bound to it. 

Always know your source before you download anything from it. Also use an antivirus to scan whatever you download.

7.   Try to avoid use of public WiFi.

If you connect to a public WiFi you are prone to the infamous Man in the middle attack.

Here the attacker exploits the security flaws and is able to intercept the connection giving him access of data between the device and the router.

Best is to use a private connection and prevent yourself from using public networks.

8.   Use complex passwords and never share them.

Basic method to build a complex password is creating passwords by taking this things into consideration.

  • Use of UPPERCASE letters
  • Use of lowercase letters
  • Use of numbers
  • Use of special characters

Weak Password: password or password123

Strong Password: T$Unami438 or [email protected]#or74
Best practice is not using easily guessable words as well.

Also never write down your passwords or share it with anyone no matter trustworthy or not. 

9.   Keep your devices updated with security patches.

Every time an Update pop up comes up you are busy with something or you do not have access to your WiFi or you are simply bored, you just procrastinate it by clicking remind me later option and the next time you do the same. But these updates are very essential to keep your system secure from any attacks. Imagine the fence around your house has a gap within and it makes a way for a burglar to enter, So you simply fill up the hole or gap to prevent from a burglary. Security updates do the same task of patching the vulnerabilities to prevent attacks. Never underestimate the need of the security update and keep your device updated.

10. Don’t hesitate to open up and seek help if you get bullied online.

Here’s a few steps you can follow if you face such a situation:

  • Try to Identify the bully and his/her motive
    The bully can be a stranger or a know person try to find out who the bully is or what is his motive by analyzing things. Speak out to your friends or family someone you are comfortable regarding this issue.
  • Collect data sent from the bully
    Take screenshots or save the chats in order to collect evidence if any legal action is needed to be taken. In some cases publicizing the bully also puts him down as large number of people stand against him.
  • Block the bully
    If you find the person fishy or impolite do not think twice just block them. Blocking at the right time can avoid further complications. So block them and close the topic then and there itself.
  • Never respond to bullies aggressively
    If you get into a heated argument there are chances that you give away information in rage.
    So keep your calm, because any curse words you say in the conversation can be used against you if legal action needs to be taking.
  • Contact cyber crime department if situation worsens
    In case of sexual harassment or the bully being out of your control go reach out to the cyber-crime department or you local police station and seek help without any hesitation
    You can report any crimes online on https://cybercrime.gov.in

Author of this article : Mr Prasad Sawant. Thank You for writing this informative article!

About the author: Passionate photographer with a profound knowledge of IT.

Links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iam_prasad/?igshid=s1dpqq5yor85

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/prasad-sawant-8b5478129/

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