Over the past few years, the internet has grown drastically and it's user base has expanded at a much greater rate.
While it has been immensely successful in making lives easier for people across the world, it has posed an equally big threat to privacy of the users and also, their safety to a large extent.
With the emergence of the social networking websites like Facebook (and earlier, Orkut too!), there is hardly any stuff that's "personal" about the users anymore. From their addresses to their phone numbers, everything is easily accessible.
Moreover, hackers invading users' accounts, stealing confidential details and more and more online frauds indicate that the level of online security is facing a hard time in keeping up with the pace at which the usage of internet is expanding.
Still, there are some preventive measures that you can take to ensure that you're "personal stuff", remains personal.
1.) Always secure the system through which you're accessing the internet.
The first thing that you need to do before accessing the net, is that make sure that you have a trustworthy internet protection software. Keep it updated and most of your online safety concerns will be taken care of! Do not install the pirated versions which you find online! PLEASE! Spend a few bucks on a nice Internet protection software, as it is a nice investment that'll guarantee utmost safety on whatever you do online.
If you're using windows, make sure to turn-on your windows firewall and ensure that you've blocked pop-ups. Using of encryption while logging into your accounts and also using it to protect the wireless network at your home, is certainly a sensible move (read: Common Sense).
Just remember that a few bucks spent on a software, is much wiser than millions going out of your bank account (Without you knowing, that is!).
2.) While posting anything on any Social Networking site, maintain secrecy and mind your surroundings!
A couple of girls from Mumbai learned it the hard way recently, as they got arrested for a comment they posted on Facebook. Though, there might haven't been anything offensive about the comment, still, you never know who's watching and might take offense.
It is advisable to not disclose personal information online, specially to the people you've just met there. Social networking websites like Facebook, give you many privacy options that you can use to ensure that only specific people (if any) can see a particular information. Even that has many loopholes to it. So, if there's anything that's very, very personal and you don't want it to go public, just don't put it up online.
Also, deactivate your account if you plan it to not use for a while. What's that point in keeping an account active when you're not going to use it for long. (What? Notifications? Common!, they'll never reach the mark you expect them to be! Stop fooling yourself!)
3.) Teenagers beware! You're the easiest online targets ever. Trust us! (Parents listen too!)
Teenagers all around the world are the most easiest and soft targets for spammers all over. The most important tip for you guys is, never, NEVER give away your online password to anyone. ( YES, even if he/she makes a pinky promise to not tell it to anyone else)
For parents, keep a tab on what your child is doing online and put a limit as to what your child can browse online. They're are many software available that'll help you in this process.
4.) Change that password you've been using since high school, you idiot!
In the age when the level of online frauds and identity thefts are at it's peak, not changing your passwords frequently is just inviting trouble for yourself. Also, never click on any malicious links that pop-up every now and then (Doesn't matter even if they offer you a free Space tour!) and never type your username/passwords on any unprotected links.
Regarding the strength of your password,just ensure that you create long passwords which include letters,numbers and even special symbols if possible. Never, ever use the passwords that are easily predicable by your friends.
After every couple of months, change your password and never store it on a mobile device or online. Never make set personal details as your password. (Really? That dumb? Who gave you access to the internet man!)
5.) Just know that you're constantly being stalked over the web, make sure it doesn't get personal
Once in a while, it's a good idea to Google yourself. That way, you'll get to see what all information about you is available publicly. If there's something, remove it. Also, it would help you to check if anyone has misused your identity to create stuff that you don't even know about.
Were you in a serious relationship prior to that break-up recently? Well dude, all that that crying and all is fine, but please, change your password, ASAP. You never know what your ex-better-half might be planning!
Even if you're a working professional, many companies would look over the social networking websites about what their employees might be doing in their "personal" time. So, keep a tab on who you're adding to your list of "friends".
These 5 tips might not guarantee your safety online, but they're surely your best possible defense!