The Internet has many benefits. It allows us to access a wealth of information at the push of a button. It also allows us to stay connected to our loved ones and even look up friends. But it can also be a dangerous place. Practicing cyber safety is important to protect your identity and sensitive information. Here are some tips to help you go online safely.
Create Strong Passwords
Half of Americans in their 60s and above do not utilize the password feature on at least one of their internet-enabled devices. This means that if someone somehow picks up your device, it is open for them to navigate. Password-protect all of your devices, such as your tablet, smartphone and computer. Also use a strong password for further security. A strong password has at least 12 characters and includes a mix of letters, symbols and numbers. When creating your password, refrain from using personal information. Hackers usually use “clues” such as birthdays, or the names of children or birthplaces, to guess passwords.
Secure Account Access
Since passwords can be stolen, you’ll want another layer of protection. A two-step authentication process provides this and many online services such as apps and websites offer this option. A two-step authentication process ensures that it is you who is trying to access your account, instead of just someone with your password.
Think Before Acting
One method used by scammers is instilling a sense of urgency in their would-be victims, prompting many of them to act quickly out of panic. Urgent language in emails, text messages and other lines of communication most likely points toward a scam. If you are unsure if a message you have received is legitimate, always check directly with the company by giving them a call.
If in Doubt, Throw it Out
It is rarely a good idea to click on strange links in emails or text messages, as this is how scammers acquire personal information. If an email or text message looks odd to you, it’s a good idea to delete it. This is true even if the message comes from someone you trust, as their own account may have been infiltrated by the scammer. Turning on spam filters on your email accounts helps you filter suspicious emails.
Be Careful about What You Share
Remember not everyone on the internet is benign. Be careful about the information you choose to share on social media sites. Adjusting your privacy settings so that only those you trust can see what you share is a good idea, but some details should be kept private as much as possible. For instance, you should definitely refrain from sharing your location. Here’s a guide to navigating social media sites like Facebook safely.
If you live alone or spend much of your time on your own, you may want to have a trusted person to help you navigate the Internet. Computer savvy children or grandchildren can help. You can also consider approaching local libraries or community centers to see if they offer computer literacy classes for your age group. It’s important to keep safe while living alone, so always be vigilant!