How to stay safe online

Staying Safe Online

Using internet has become synonymous with living your life, in present times, as it gets you through the major day-to-day tasks, including working, shopping, socialising, besides providing you with an abundance of knowledge from across the globe. World wide web is easily accessible and available for use on all major devices, from desktops and laptops to mobile phones, tablets, and many other devices.

Having said that, with its benefits, comes its vulnerability to be attacked by hacking crucial information like stealing identity, like name, age, address, date of birth, bank account numbers and passwords, etc., or stealing private data, like photos & videos, software, business data, and other important documents and files. Therefore, taking precautions to stay safe online is absolutely necessary for everyone.

Precautionary steps to stay safe online

Masking IP Address

Masking IP address is nothing but hiding your IP address and browsing anonymously. The IP address can track sensitive information, like your precise location, your internet activity, etc., hence, masking IP or altering IP address can keep you safe and protected online.

This can be done by:

1. Setting-up a VPN Client

You can go to your device’s security settings, be it on desktop or smartphone, and add a connection. You will see VPN in the connection ptions. It is easy to configure it using the information given by your Internet service provider, like VPN type, VPN server address, VPN username, etc.

2. Using a Proxy

Using a proxy server is safe because it acts as an intermediary between the user device and internet by creating indirect network connections with other networks. This can mask your IP, as well as speed up your internet speed. It is likely to be slower, but an effective solution to safe browsing.

3. Check with your Internet Service Provider

The internet service providers (ISP) have access to assigning the IP addresses, be it a static or dynamic IP address. A static IP, is more or less, unchangeable, whereas, a dynamic IP can be changed easily. You can request your internet service provider to alter your IP for you.

Securing Wi-Fi Network

The most important precautionary step that must be adapted and religiously followed, is securing Wi-Fi network. This is similar to masking IP, as well as effective, whether you are running a Wi-Fi network at home, work, educational centre, or anywhere else.

This can be done by:

1. Changing Network Name & Password

Every Wi-Fi network user is provided with a unique network name that is shown to the public while searching for a Wi-Fi network, known as SSID (service set identifier) and a password, by their internet service provider (ISP). You can change your SSID and the password to secure your network.

2. Activating Encryption

This is the best step one can follow to lock down their wireless network. All you have to do is go to the network settings, turn on the ‘WPA2’, and set the encryption type to AES (avoid TKIP if that’s an option). This will ask you to create a network key/ password to enable encrypted Wi-Fi.

Managing Privacy

Managing your private information online is key to safe browsing. One must be very careful while providing personal information, like name, phone number, bank account details, especially while shopping online. As well as, personal photos and videos, and information about family & friends, especially on social media platforms. All these details, when loosely use, can make you vulnerable to internet hacks.

Security Checks

Running regular security checks on your devices, to scan for viruses can keep you safe online and to avoid cybersecurity threats. It is essential for every device to have an authentic anti-virus software downloaded on their device.

It is easy to be safe online by just being a little cautious while using the internet. Stay safe and happy browsing.

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