As we are lining in the 21st century, our life is almost surrounded with various online activities. Whether it is surfing social networking sites or checking emails or paying the bills, almost everything is now can be done through online. In some countries, few organization provide special discounts if any bills get paid through the online. But as our life is getting more internet oriented where we (the people whole live in urban and semi urban cities) can’t think about our life without internet for a whole day. It’s really hard now to live without internet, as it gives you the freedom to do anything and everything.
But as new technologies get popular and people starts using it, there are a selective few people / organizations who always try to misuse the good things that has been invented by humans and try to make a mess by doing various filthy activities like hacking personal secure information, stealing card information, making your computer virus affected so that they can take control over your stuffs. There are almost no way to stop this from doing whatever they are doing, but what we can do is, we can expand our knowledge about the basic security holes and precautions. In simple terms what you should and should not do to always stay secure and cyberly healthy. So, today in this post I’m going to share that what basic security precautions you should take to stay secure over online.
#1. Never ever use Pirated Software
Trust me, pirated software are not just illegal, it’s the most popular place to get infected with viruses, no matter what antivirus and antimalware you have installed on your computer. If you are a pirated software user then you must have seen that most cracks or keygens get selected as some sort of virus warning, but the pirated torrent author will tell you that it’s a false alarm and to ignore it.
Even if you ignores the warning, you are taking a huge risk to compromise your security over piracy. Let me tell you this way. When a hacker or a cracker spend hours after hours to crack a single software and then upload it for free on torrent site, why do you think they do that? Even some uploader uses private seed box (costs around $20 – $60 per month) to keep seeding this torrent files. Now do you really think that they are spending these money from their pocket or they get thousands and thousands dollars of donation every month? They do that because this is the easiest way to infect any computer with the full trust of the owner. So, from the next time if you think about downloading any pirated software, think million times before doing it. Also paying for a software is like giving the proper respect to the developer or organization for the awesome work they have done to make your life easier.
#2. Don’t download everything you see on internet
Internet is a great if it is used that way, otherwise it could be deadly and even create an insane chaos. You see most internet websites monetize their website through advertisements, which is very much needed to keep funding the website, otherwise it will never grow and impossible to handle. Google Adsense is an advertisement publisher which shows ads on website. But the problem is as it is a Google product, like every other it doesn’t show bad ads or anything which can harm the viewers. Also in the other hand, Google never allow everyone to get enlisted for Adsense program. Only a very few percent of the website which follows every single Google Adsense guidelines get enlisted and if they ever broke they policy the respective publisher account gets blocked. It’s that strict.
As it is strict, all popular advertisers use it for marketing and the users also likes it as this ads won’t harm your computer. But there are webmasters whose sites doesn’t get approved by google and hence they use cheesy ad media companies to show cheesy ads. Now you might be very much familiar with the ad which shows “Download Now” & “Play Now” button beside the content you are visiting and if I’m not wrong, some of you might have clicked on those links and get end up downloading some craps in your computer. This is sick right? So, I always suggest people download things from the trusted sites only and if you are confused between many download buttons showing on the site, just leave that dumb site and look for some better one. Here is an awesome education video about healthy internet which you might like. 🙂
#3. Look deep into software installation
If you often install new software in your computer by yourself, you should give more concentration in the installation process. Recently there is a trend to install junk software, browser toolbars, and useless software as a complete package of another software. This things generally gets hidden under the “Basic” installation type – as most people never select the custom installation type and end up installing junks beside the one they actually need.
If you are familiar with the installation process of uTorrent, IObit Uninstaller and many other software like that you will see many useless checkmarks which are marked by default so you have to unmark them to always stay safe. Sometimes these applications just install junks and sometime spywares. So always give proper attention to the software installation process from the next time.
#4. Use antivirus and antimalware both
Make sure that you install both antivirus and antimalware in your system. I know that most people just purchase antivirus and don’t even bother about anything, but trust me, you should bother about these things to make your internet life secure. If you don’t have much knowledge about virus and malwares or interested to know the basic difference between that, I will definitely suggest you to take a look at this small YouTube video. It will help you understand it more easily.
#5. Use different passwords for different sites
This is a very common thing and I’m pretty sure that many people have already told you to use this, but either you are too lazy to create different passwords for different sites or afraid about what will happen if you forget the password.
Well don’t worry. If you are a Google Chrome user (which you should be), now chrome comes with a cross-device sync feature, which saves your username and password combination for the sites you want it to save and then stores it to super secure Google server and synced across all devices which are registered over the same Gmail address. This is completely free and pretty slick and works perfectly for almost every sites (except the bank sites). So now you don’t have to worry about remembering all those passwords by yourself. So now you can use a password generator or check the strength of your current password to make sure your password is secure and hard to crack.
#6. Use 2 Step Authentication
There are few websites on internet like namecheap, Gmail etc. who have the 2 Step Authentication feature enabled on their system. This is a pretty important think to make sure that no one gets access to your account beside you. Generally if 2 step authentication is enabled on your system, after you login into your account with the proper username and password, it will sent you an One Time Password (OTP) on your registered phone number so that, even if you login details get compromised, no one can access your account without the proper OTP.
#7. Use virtual keyboard for online banking login
This is very important and always remember to use the virtual keyboard (if available by your bank) present in your banking website login page. The virtual keyboard will make sure that your login information never gets leaked even if your PC is affected by some specific virus. Instead if you use a keyboard, a keylogging virus can easily read your keyboard inputs and then sent it to the virus author to compromise your security.
But if you use the virtual keyboard instead, the software will read every single input as a simple “click” nothing else. The same pulse will be sent to the computer but can only be accessible through browser. Whereas if you would have used the keyboard, key logger can easily log the different ASCII values you have sent to the computer overtime.
#8. Do safely online payment
Online payment is one of the most risky thing on the web as it includes your credit or debit card details to be inputted into the World Wide Web. This is a great feature and online payment really makes life easier as you can pay for anything at anytime from anywhere. But this is the most vulnerable part also as if your PC is affected by any virus it could compromise your card details into the wrong hand and you might lost all the money you have in your bank account.
Not just online transactions, now cards details even get copied or forged if it has been used in a forged ATM or a POS terminal with a forged machine. So here are few key things I want all of you to follow in terms of getting maximum payment security –
- Always use an incognito mode of a browser to do all kind of payments. As incognito mode doesn’t hold any cache or cookie, you are out of the risk of saving card details in the browser.
- Always use chip based credit/debit cards if you bank provides it. Chip based cared are almost impossible to forge and hack as every chip is unique and can be manufactured only once.
- Use virtual keyboard to enter card details on the website. Windows and Mac both have inbuilt virtual keyboards within the OS. Just search for it 🙂
- If you are too concern about your cyber security and privacy, the last thing you could do beside all this is purchase a VPN service to use the internet service securely and anonymously.
If you don’t know how to use incognito mode in a browser, please take a look at this below video, I’m sure that it will help you. 🙂
#9. Use some common sense
I know this might sound a little harsh to somebody, but trust me I’ve seen many people with almost ZERO common sense about cyber privacy and security. So here are some rule of thumbs about online and banking security you must always remember.
- Never ever share your card information like CVV code, ATM PIN number, 3D Secure pin, expiry date, name printed on card with anyone beside yourself.
- Don’t save curtail information like Card number, CVV code, ATM PIN number, 3D Secure pin, expiry date in your phone or laptop or tablet. Just memories it so that it will kept lock in the world’s most secure place (your mind palace).
- Don’t share curtail banking or card information over telephone or email to anyone, except the bank account number and branch details.
- Always do online transactions or purchase from a site which has HTTPS enabled or SSL enabled.
In the fast moving world and internet era, if you follow every single details I’ve provided above you will be 99.9% secure on internet and don’t have to worry much about cyber security. So, do you ever face any cyber security issue? Is there any security point did I miss above? Let me know your experience and thoughts in the comment section below. I would be happy to hear them out 🙂