When you leave the house, you probably take care to protect yourself from burglaries and other dangers. On the internet, it is also important to put in place some security procedures: fraud, espionage and theft of files or passwords are just some of the problems that people can face in this environment.
It is to help you deal with the online dangers that InfoWester presents below some very important safety tips. All are simple, so you will have no trouble putting them into practice in your daily life.
Exit by clicking on “Logout”, “Exit” or equivalent
When accessing your email, your online store account, your Facebook profile, your internet banking or any other service that requires a username and password, click on the name / link button Logout, Logoff, Exit, Disconnect or equivalent to leave the site. It may seem obvious, but many people do this by simply closing the browser window or accessing another address from there.
Doing so is not recommended because the site was not instructed to close your access at that time, so that someone else can reopen the same page right away and access your information. This tip is valid mainly on public computers – from college, for example.
Create passwords that are difficult to discover
Do not use passwords that are easy to discover, such as family name, birthday, license plate, etc. Give preference to strings that mix letters, numbers and even special symbols.
Also, do not use a combination that is less than six characters as a password. It is also important not to keep your passwords in text files. If you need to write down a password on paper (in extreme cases), destroy it as soon as you memorize the sequence. Avoid using the same password on multiple services.
It is also recommended to change your password from time to time or when you suspect any strange activity, such as an email that appears as read, but that you do not remember reading.
Use current and renowned browsers
Using current Internet browsers not only ensures that you can take advantage of current technologies, such as HTML5, but also has security features capable of combating more recent dangers, such as fake websites that pass for bank pages.
In addition, updated browsers generally have security fixes exploited in previous versions. Therefore, always use the latest available version of your browser, both on your computer and on your tablet or smartphone.
Fortunately, the main browsers today have automatic updates or alerts that warn of the availability of a new version. But, if you are not sure if you are using the latest version, you can look in the browser menus for an option called “About” (or equivalent) that usually provides this type of information.
Update your antivirus and your operating system
You certainly know that it is important to install security software on your computer, such as an antivirus. But, in addition to installing it, it is necessary to make sure that the program is constantly updated, otherwise, the antivirus will not “know” about the existence of new malware . All current antiviruses have automatic updates set by default, but it’s always a good idea to check.
It is also very important to install updates for your operating system, including on your mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). So that you don’t have to worry about it constantly, make sure your operating system has automatic update functionality enabled (most have this feature, like the latest versions of Windows or iOS).
Be very careful with downloads
If you use sharing programs or usually get files from sites that specialize in downloads, be aware of what to download. At the end of the download, check if the file has any strange characteristics, for example, more than one extension (such as cazuza.mp3.exe ), too small size for the file type or suspicious description information. Many digital pests pass for music, videos, photos, applications and the like to deceive the user. In addition, always scan the downloaded file with an antivirus.
Also watch out for sites that ask you to install programs to continue browsing or enjoying some service. Also be wary of offers of “miraculous” software, capable of doubling the performance of your computer or increasing the speed of the internet, for example.
When obtaining software that, at first, is legitimate, you must also be careful with its installation: during this process, the application can pre-schedule the joint activation of other programs, such as browser bars or supposed security applications . Therefore, follow all installation steps and reject any offer of this type.
Avoid using pirated software
Games, office applications, operating systems and image editors are among the most pirated software. Its use may seem advantageous because of the low cost, but among other problems, programs in this condition are dangerous because they can be distributed with malware and, often, do not have the security updates that the developer makes available for the original copies.
Watch out for links on WhatsApp or social networks
Some malware can, even if temporarily, take advantage of the fact that the user is using instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype to send automatic messages with links to viruses or malicious websites during a conversation. In situations of this type, it is common for the party who received the message to think that the other person actually sent it and thus end up clicking the link with the greatest willingness.
Because of this, if you receive a link that you were not expecting during a conversation, ask the contact if, in fact, he sent it. If the person denies it, do not click the link and warn them that their computer or smartphone may have malware.
Also pay attention to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, as a contact can, for example, recommend a link without realizing that its content is dangerous or a questionable application can post without the person noticing.
Fake emails and SMS are still very common
Did you receive an email saying that you have a debt with a telephone company or an SMS stating that one of your documents is illegal? Or, does the message offer you prizes or photos that prove cheating? Is there a subpoena for a court hearing there? Does the email ask you to update your bank details? It is very likely (very likely) that it is phishing , that is, a false message , so ignore it.
If the message contains texts with spelling and grammatical errors, making tempting offers or informing a link other than the one indicated (to check the real link, just hover the mouse cursor over it, but without clicking), be wary immediately. If in doubt, contact the company or entity whose name was involved in the email.
Avoid accessing dubious websites
Many websites contain scripts on their pages capable of exploiting flaws in the internet browser. Others do not have scripts, but try to convince the user to click on a dangerous link, to register with a suspicious service and so on. It is relatively easy to identify these sites:
Its theme is very appealing, exploring adult content, hacker or gambling, for example; The website automatically opens several pages or windows with appealing advertisements; Your address (URL) is often complex or different from the site name; The site displays advertisements that offer free prizes, benefits or products; Require download of a program or registration to finish determines action. When you come across sites with these or other suspicious features, do not continue browsing.
Attention to email attachments
This is one of the oldest instructions, even so, email is still one of the main ways of spreading malware. Be careful when receiving messages that ask you to open the attached file (claiming it is a compromising photo, for example), even if the email came from someone you know. To increase security, you can check the file with an antivirus, even when you are waiting to receive it.
Be careful when shopping on the internet or using bank sites
Shopping over the internet is synonymous with convenience, but only do it on reputable e-commerce sites. If you are interested in a product sold on an unknown website, do a search to find out if there are any complaints against the company. A good service for this is the Reclame Aqui website . See more tips on online shopping here .
When accessing your bank account over the internet, also be careful. Avoid doing so on public computers or public Wi-Fi networks, always check that the website address belongs to the banking service and follow all the security rules recommended by the bank. There are more guidelines in these tips for using internet banking .
Don’t respond to threats, provocations or intimidation
If you receive threats, provocations, intimidation or anything similar over the internet, avoid responding. In addition to avoiding more hassles, this practice prevents the author from obtaining important information that you may end up revealing because of the heat of the moment. If you feel the threat is serious or if you feel offended, keep a copy of everything and seek guidance from the legal authorities.
Don’t reveal important information about yourself
On social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others) or any service where a stranger can access your information, avoid giving details of the school or college you study, the place where you work and especially where you live. Also avoid making available data or photos that provide relevant details about you, for example, images showing the facade of your home or your license plate.
Never divulge your phone number openly by these means, nor inform the location where you will be in the next few hours or a place that you regularly visit. If this data is directed to your friends, please notify them in a particular way, as any and all relevant information about you may be misused by malicious people, including to locate you.
Be careful when registering online
Many sites require you to register to enjoy their services, but this can be a “trap”. Now, if a website asks for your credit card number without you intending to buy something, the chances of it being “stolen” are great. In addition, your information can be delivered to companies that sell subscriptions to magazines or products over the phone, for example.
To make matters worse, your email or phone number can be inserted into spam or marketing lists.
So, before registering on websites, do an internet search to check if that address has a record of any illegal activity. Also assess whether you really need to use the services offered there.
Use 2-step verification
Several companies, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, offer in their services the option of two-step verification ( two-factor authentication ). With it, you must enter a code after logging in, otherwise you will not have access to the service, even if you enter the password correctly.
In many services, the code is sent by SMS. But the code can also be issued by token-type devices (such as those used by banks) or applications like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. These tools are available for Android and iOS and are more secure than SMS, so choose them whenever possible.
The advantage of two-step authentication is that if your password is discovered by a third party, that person will not be able to access your account because they do not have the authentication code. Make sure the services you use offer this feature.
Public Wi-Fi networks can be dangerous
Take great care when accessing public Wi-Fi networks, especially those that do not require a password. Some can be “bait” to capture data from devices connected to it. Others may direct you to fake websites. Therefore, give preference to networks of known companies.
One way to strengthen security when connecting to public networks is to use a VPN ( Virtual Private Network ). This type of service hides your IP address (even if it is IPv6 ) and reinforces your privacy.
Note, however, that most VPN services are paid for.
Protecting yourself in the “virtual world” can be a little bit of work, but it is important to have a defensive posture to avoid or at least minimize inconvenience. Most online “pitfalls” can be avoided if you remain attentive and willing to practice proper care in your daily life.
It is also important to be attentive to those who are close to you, so not only practice safety precautions on the internet, but also guide relatives and friends.