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Online Safety: Protecting Yourself in the Digital World

In today's digitally connected world, online safety is just as, if not more important than home and car security. It’s no longer enough to know the basics of online safety as data leaks and hidden malware become all the more prevalent.

While common practices like safeguarding personal information and using strong passwords are well-known, this article delves into lesser-known tips for navigating online safety effectively.

1. Utilise Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enhance your account security by enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible. 2FA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring an additional verification step, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password.

2FA significantly reduces the chances of unauthorised access to your accounts, even if someone manages to obtain your password.

2. Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, protecting your online activities and making it difficult for hackers or snoopers to intercept your data.

Consider using a reputable VPN service when accessing public Wi-Fi networks or when privacy and security are of utmost importance, such as while conducting financial transactions.

Popular VPNs include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and AtlasVPN. A lot of digital creators do collaborations or paid partnerships with Nord and Express, so with a quick look on YouTube you could find a discount code, or get a few months free.

3. Employ Privacy-Focused Browsers and Search Engines

Explore privacy-focused browsers and search engines that prioritise user privacy and limit data tracking.

Browsers like Brave, DuckDuckGo, or Firefox with enhanced privacy settings provide better control over your online footprint and reduce the chances of targeted advertisements or data breaches.

4. Practice Digital Minimalism

Embrace digital minimalism by periodically auditing and decluttering your online presence.

Regularly review your social media accounts, delete unnecessary or outdated information, and limit the personal details you share online.

By reducing your digital footprint, you minimise the risk of personal information being exposed or exploited.

Creator Cathy Pedrayes makes videos giving you tips about online safety you’ve probably never heard of, such as:

Never posting pictures of your house keys, and changing your last name to the website you are signing up for when making new accounts, that way you will always know which site sold your data.

5. Be Wary of Public Charging Stations

Avoid using public charging stations, such as those found in airports or cafes, as they can pose security risks.

Cybercriminals can tamper with these stations to install malware or steal data from connected devices. The FBI have issued official warnings about this form of cybercrime, known as ‘juice-jacking’.

Instead, carry a portable power bank or use a trusted charging adapter connected to a wall socket.

6. Secure Your Smart Devices

As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, it's essential to secure smart devices connected to your network.

Change default passwords on devices like Alexas and Ring Doorbells, keep devices updated with the latest firmware, and ensure they are connected to a secure and separate Wi-Fi network if possible.

In 2020, Ring, owned by Amazon, faced a class action lawsuit over claims that Ring doorbells had poor protection against hacking, putting private video footage at risk.

Regularly review and adjust privacy settings on smart devices to minimise potential vulnerabilities.

7. Conduct Regular Security Audits

Perform routine security audits of your online accounts and devices.

Use reputable security tools to scan for malware, check for software updates, and review access permissions granted to various applications and services. This practice helps identify and address potential security weaknesses proactively.

While traditional online safety practices are essential, exploring unconventional tips can provide an extra layer of protection in the digital world, and help you stay one step ahead of new digital threats.

Remember that staying informed about emerging threats and maintaining a proactive mindset towards online safety is crucial.

Implementing these lesser-known tips alongside established practices empowers you to navigate the digital landscape with confidence, protecting your privacy, and mitigating potential risks in the ever-evolving digital world.

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