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How to stay safe on the internet [Explicit 2016 version]

2016, the year of new cyber attacks, hoaxes, scams and devastating Trojan horses (malware) and we all need to protect ourselves against these types of threats if we want to surf the internet without becoming a victim of one of the internet threats which have been mentioned above and more.

Children

Each time when I start writing about “online security”, I start thinking about all the children which will become a victim of the internet – and the reason is very simple, when I got my first computer, I was once scammed into a mobile txt message service, but my luck was that it was a prepaid phone which had 1 gulden (former currency of The Netherlands) – so there was no actual financial damage – but the thing is, I was tricked into an affiliate scam which claimed that I could win a phone if I would pass a survey (another affiliate), and in order to know if I had won, I had to provide my mobile phone number (another affiliate). I did it all, and at the end, I was send back to the start screen of the scam.

babymilk

In order to keep your children safe from online harm, you will have to think about the following things:

  • Are you going to give/allow them access to a device which can automatically charge money from your bank?
  • Are you going to let them use the device as an administrator or do you have created a special account for them which limits their access?
  • Are you going to allow them play with a device which has a camera?

The points above are very important to think about, the reason is very simple, each “extra rights” you give them, could also bring them in danger. For example, if you allow them to use the camera, the chance is there that the camera might be abused by a cybercriminal (which gained access by an action of your child), or that pictures end up on the internet which you do not want online.

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You staying safe on the internet

Now it comes to you, if you want to stay safe online, you will need to think about having an antivirus installed on each device you use to access the internet and read files. The chance is very high that in the future a “major” website like “thenewyorktimes.com” will spread malware because of a vulnerability on the website. Shit happens and the chance is always there. The antivirus program on your devices will help you to keep your devices malware free.

The next thing which is very important is to use a VPN or PROXY which will allow you to hide your “computer identity” on the internet. A VPN or PROXY will hide your real IP address to the websites you visit, it also hides your external IP address, making it harder for cybercriminals to contact your computer (note; most malware use self-ip check services to identify the IP of the infected device).

The VPN application will setup a tunnel on the internet to a computer which hosts the VPN service, from that point your connection will be tunneled via the VPN service outside to the internet, meaning that your IP address will be the IP address of the VPN service.

Another good thing about VPN is the fact that it encrypts all your communication, making it almost impossible for cybercriminals to perform a “man in the middle attack” which will allow them to see your communication/data you are sending/receiving.

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Social media

The next step is to recheck your security settings on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on.

If the social media network allows you to use two-factor authentication then certainly use that option.

Another point you will have to think about is your privacy settings on those social media networks, do you want everyone to see your information or do you want to keep your information which is posted online public for a select view?

Passwords

It is time to use sentences as a password, sentences are very hard to crack and they are easily remembered.

By CWZ

Founder of Cyberwarzone.com.