Staying safe on the internet in 4 steps

Whether you are online checking your bank account, seeing if someone has commented on your latest Facebook status, or shopping online, we all use the internet for one thing or another. However, the most important and overlooked situation when it comes to online use is Safety and Security. So what I have done is to write up a few tips for you, so that you are able to understand cyber safety and the impact that it can have on not only your computer but you.

1. Locked and Loaded

When it comes to the internet, there are many facets of it that a majority of the population hardly know about. Specific instances that you should always be aware of when going on to a website is ensuring the little green lock pad icon at the start of the URL. This means the website is secure, and therefore, you don’t have to worry when it comes to purchases or information that you may give to them.

Surprisingly, not a lot of people are aware of this, and this information can really save you in situations when you are unsure. Another way to ensure the safety of a website is checking the URL itself – if it has ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ then it is secure (if you didn’t catch on, the ‘s’ is for ‘secure’). If you are someone who only likes to use the internet for looking at your son’s Facebook to make sure he isn’t into too much trouble, then you shouldn’t really have to worry about security. It’s when you venture out into the unknown, and start searching for the mysteries of the internet, or doing online purchasing – that is when you need to take time to check for website security.

Let’s Sum Up:

  • Websites with ‘https’ or the green lock pad icons are secure.
  • Shopping isn’t shopping unless you actually receive the product.
  • Your son is probably doing something stupid on Facebook.

2. The wrong Browser means Bowser

Now the title of this point may confuse you, however, I will explain the comparison between Browser and Bowser. You see, King Bowser Koopa is the main antagonist from the Mario franchise and made his first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 1985. Browser, on the other hand, is a computer program with a graphical user interface for displaying HTML files, used to navigate the World Wide Web. If you still are a little confused, don’t worry too much as I will explain further (and I’ll try to stop making references to the Mario universe).

A browser is basically that thing you use to access the internet, and my main point to this tip is that when you have a dodgy browser it can turn out bad (like bowser, makes sense eh). Personally, I recommend staying to 2 main browsers for your best luck in staying secure. These two are Google Chrome and Firefox. Some people debate over which one is better – I personally prefer Google Chrome, especially when you have a Gmail account. You can also install an ad-on for these browsers, such as Adblock or Antivirus Online Scanner which is super useful for safety. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are two browsers that you want to avoid at all cost – think of them like chocolate cake with poison in it. Are you are going to have a delicious chocolate cake? Yes, but by the end of it, you are going to die. The browser might give you all the results you need, but in the end, your computer will die.

To sum up:

  • Google Chrome or Firefox are quality browsers.
  • Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge are poison.
  • Bowser is from the Mario universe.

3. ‘Password’ is not a good password

Having a few solid passwords is always helpful in the day and age that we are in – and I said a few because one will not be enough. Nowadays, websites that ask you to provide a password have an indicator as to whether your password is strong enough, and they encourage you to use capital letters and numbers that aren’t sequenced. If you are using one password across all your accounts, you are also in a bit of trouble – if a hacker was to find out your password on one account, they will be able to use that to go onto all your other accounts, from LinkedIn to PayPal.

It is also really handy to keep a physical book with all of your passwords hidden somewhere at home. That way, if you do forget your password, or you are using a different computer, you have a backup. It is also recommended that you change your main passwords every 6 months in order to keep on top of them.

Let’s sum up:

  • Use Capital letters and numbers.
  • Try to keep a physical copy.
  • If you have the same password for everything, you are in a bit of trouble.

Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.

Mitchell Kapor

4. Anti-Malware Software is a good idea

It sounds pretty obvious to some people, but it is really good to have quality anti-malware software installed on your computer. There are plenty of good free ones out there that you can easily find and download (make sure you use the previous tips before downloading from a site). Some Operating Systems do come with anti-virus software already installed. However, to be safe, you should go and download a quality one.

Once you have the software downloaded, make sure to set it to regular scans, otherwise, you might as well just downloaded a piece of toast. I know what you are thinking, toast is delicious, but, it doesn’t do anything. For most anti-malware software, it is very simple to set it to regular scans. I would recommend either going on to the site of the software or searching how to set it via the magic of google.

Let’s sum up:

  • Download a quality anti-malware software
  • Run regular scans
  • Toast is delicious

I hope these tips have given you a brand-new perspective of your use of the internet, and how safety is to be considered more often than not.

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