7 Actionable Tips to Stay Safe Online

4 min

Everyone talks about being safe online but no one tells you what to do. We know that feeling.

You talk to a tech-savvy friend and she tells you that you should protect your computer from malware. Then she starts talking about Windows 11. Never give you any tips or tool suggestions to get started. We told you we know the feeling.

If you are someone who can relate to this story, then here are seven of the best, actionable tips to secure your connection to the Internet. They range from quick hacks to simple tool usage to advanced privacy setups, all of which will make you stay safe and secure online.

Create Random Passwords

The best way to create complex passwords is to randomize. A majority of users – when they are creating a password – will use a known element like their mother’s maiden name or their favorite pet animal as a reference. This is a mistake because then guessing your password becomes easier (although still difficult).

The key is to use random references that only you can make sense of. Some examples are your favorite historical event along with a random year, your least favorite book written backward, your favorite IKEA furniture name in leetspeak. When you blend them with some capital letters and symbols, you create the perfect password.

Don’t Save Your Passwords on Your Browser

It’s extremely convenient to have your web browser save all your passwords. You don’t have to remember the tens and even hundreds of combinations; the browser supplies them to you when needed.

But it’s not a safe practice. Letting your browser (or any other tool for that matter) save your passwords can pose a risk should there be a data breach in its database. The browser will try its best to convince you (because it wants you to depend on it in the long run) but the key is to stay away.

A solution is to memorize the important ones. Alternatively, you can use two-factor authentication (2FA) or one-time-password (OTP) methods to log into websites. Another wild solution is to gradually minimize the number of services/websites that you use.

Keep the Updates On

There is nothing more annoying than letting your computer control the system updates. Besides those frequent annoying notifications, sometimes the updates change critical elements of certain software, disrupting your work. While the reasons for switching off automatic device and software updates are understandable, it’s not a wise practice.

In most cases, such updates bring with them crucial security fixes that are important to safeguard your system. It is true for all types of updates: device firmware, operating system, individual software.

It would do you good to update your device, system, and applications at least once a month. You can switch off the automatic updates and choose a particular day of the month instead.

Set Up a VPN

We know you have taken this advice from us before but it doesn’t make it less useful. Setting up a VPN on your system is critical. It not only allows you to hide your IP address but also encrypts your traffic so that prying eyes don’t know what you are communicating. 

Installing a VPN is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to stay safe online today. You may try TuxlerVPN to get a taste of the technology that protects millions of users from online frauds.

When you choose to set up a virtual network, make sure you cover all your devices. If you use a desktop, a laptop, and a smartphone, install a VPN in all three. 

Don’t Save Financial Data Anywhere

Browsers are not the safest place for passwords. Similarly, “nowhere” is the safest place for storing financial data like social security numbers, credit card numbers, internet banking passwords, and debit card PINs.

When you store financial information like that on a browser or within a website, you immediately put yourself at risk. There is no way to ensure that your information will always be safe. The website will make all types of claims, but who can you blame when its database gets hacked one day? No one.

Therefore, it is best to avoid saving any type of financial information anywhere. Whenever you transact online, start fresh and use your memory and physical tools (cards, passbook) to feed the data. Make sure you clear the browser cache (and history) after executing such transactions.

Note – Avoid executing a financial transaction on a public computer or network.

Use Common and Popular Apps

Another way to steer clear of scams and fraud is to stick to common apps. For example, if you are looking for a PDF scanner, research what the most popular ones are and choose one of them. Lesser-known apps often come with suspicious links, collect your data without your permission, and run pesky ads.

A good example of this is to use a PDF reader by Adobe, Sumatra, or Kofax than some random bloatware application that came with your device. We should note that there are some exceptions to this tip and we suggest using your judgment while experimenting with new offerings.

Stay Away from Non-HTTPS Websites

We have come a long way in online security tech to cut non-HTTPS sites any slack. If you come across a site without a secure HTTP, it is best to avoid it. While not all such HTTP sites are harmful, you cannot depend on guesswork when your personal information is in line.

BackNext article