Five Steps To Have A Safer Presence Online In 2023

Jan 6, 2023 | Technology News

Five Steps You Could Implement To Have A Safer Presence Online

 

In today’s age where many of us surf the web and store data online, implementing personal safety practices while online is an important step to ensuring your information stays private.

With each year, the methods hackers use to obtain classified data evolves, and so too must the methods used to stay safe online.

So what is the best way to do it? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a computer expert to keep your information out of the wrong hands. 

At Kaseware, we study and perform security best practices daily, and have come up with the five best practices you can implement to stay safe throughout 2023. 

1. Take Advantage of Your Privacy and Security Settings

This one may seem obvious, but most devices and platforms offer a number of safety settings that are at your disposal. 

Understanding how to use privacy settings can greatly improve who views your information. Using these settings on your social media platforms can be especially  beneficial as this can limit who can view your posts, usernames, and personal information such as your name and age. 

For a tight security net, we recommend ensuring your privacy settings on each active platform match your preferences. 

2. Check for HTTPS

If a website URL begins with ‘HTTPS’ (click our URL above for an example) it indicates that it has a valid Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This is an authentication of the website’s privacy and security. Websites with URLs beginning with HTTPS protect information while in transit, removing the possibility for man-in-the-middle attacks. 

When entering information on websites with this prefix, your data becomes encrypted between the site and the server, keeping your communications away from eavesdropping and tampering. 

When surfing the web, check URLs for HTTPS on all sites before entering personal information. Websites with only ‘HTTP’ at the beginning may still be safe, but do not guarantee encryption of your data. 

3. Clear Your Online History and Browser Cache

Many websites use cookies to collect and share your data. This information is stored in two ways, through session cookies and persistent cookies. 

Session cookies store data only while you are visiting a website, and does not retain information from your device. When the session expires these cookies are deleted and your information is no longer stored. Persistent cookies remain on the device until you erase them or they expire. 

Clearing your cache regularly can remove these cookies from your browser. Without doing this, anyone who accesses your computer after you can see your activity and may have access to private data from some websites. 

4. Choose New Forgotten Password Hints and Responses

We’ve all forgotten a password at one point or another and had to resort to using pre-chosen hints to retrieve it. 

These hints, often something like “What is the name of your highschool mascot?” or “What was the name of your hometown”, can become insecure when used for long periods of time. Cracking these questions is one of the most common ways that hackers obtain access to private accounts. 

To boost your online security, use new hints and answers whenever possible. Tailor your answers to include information that only you would know, and is not listed on any other accounts you own or have active. 

For example, choosing the question “What is the name of your hometown?” can lead hackers to scanning social media accounts of you or your peers to obtain the answer. 

5. Look For Reputable Websites 

When visiting websites for the first time, and especially when putting in personal information or credit card information, first check to see if the website is safe and reputable. Websites that have many visitors and have precautions in place to protect their users’ data will almost always have evidence online to show for it. 

Some tips to double check that a website is reputable is to look for reviews from other users online. Reviews from a third party source are best to ensure authenticity. 

Another method is to check that the company has a reliable customer support line. In the event that something does go wrong, the customer support team can be a first step in correcting the issue. 

Finally, if you suspect the website may contain dangerous software that could harm your device or threaten your private information, search for “[website/software name] malware” to see if others have encountered issues from the website. 

Stay Safe Online 

While these steps are relatively simple and not time consuming, vigilance is important to protecting your online presence. Implementing these steps whenever possible can close the loopholes hackers and cyber criminals use to access and steal personal information. Luckily, with a few simple steps, you can remain safe online throughout 2023 and beyond. 

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