One of the most important internet holidays of the year is here, Safer Internet Day. This was a holiday founded in 2012 as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of the online world and how to protect yourself from them. While it started all the way back in 2012, internet safety has only become more important over the years as it has become more ingrained within our society.
Tips on Internet Safety
We here at Coolmath Games thought it would be a good idea to write our top 5 tips about keeping yourself protected on the web in honor of Safer Internet Day. These are all tips that are easy to follow but can make a major impact on your day-to-day life. There are scammers and hackers all over the internet, so knowing the correct ways to avoid them is a key skill to have in this modern day and age.
Keep software up to date
This may come as a surprise, but one of the most important ways you can fight against online attacks is to update your software. There can be bugs and glitches that developers aim to fix by releasing an update. However, if you don’t install this update, you may open yourself up to people trying to exploit these bugs. Making sure that your software is up to date would be a great way to kick off Safer Internet Day.
Use strong and unique passwords
Weak passwords are one of the most common ways that hackers can mess with people’s personal information. There are tons of people who use extremely predictable passwords, like ‘password’, ‘abc123’, or just use the user's birthday. All of these are predictable and open people up to having their accounts hacked into.
Instead, try and make it a long password that has multiple numbers and special characters in it. For example, the password Fireb0yProGam3r128! would be a good one to use (please don’t use that exact password though). Not only is it a long password, but it has numbers scattered throughout the word, as well as a special character at the end.
It is also important to use a different password for every different site that you log in to. This way, if someone does steal one of your passwords, it will only affect your account on one site. You can keep track of these different passwords with all sorts of different apps, including Google Password Manager.
Don’t click on links from sketchy sources
You may have seen this before. Oftentimes, people will get emails or texts that have links embedded in them. It’ll have some message telling you that your Amazon or bank account has been hacked. However, unless you can confirm that it is from the actual company account, do not click it. Oftentimes, it will be scammers trying to send you to another website where they can steal your information in order to get into your personal accounts.
This can even happen on websites. This is why it is important to avoid going onto websites that have red flags such as pop-up ads. These can also redirect you to potentially dangerous websites that are trying to steal your information, whether that be passwords or just personal data. Instead, stay on safe and secure sites like Coolmath Games!
Be careful of public Wi-Fi
When going onto Wi-Fi in public spaces, like the library or a coffee shop, be careful about putting in sensitive information like debit card information while connected to the router. These public Wi-Fi connections can oftentimes be prone to hacking, which will put your information at risk. Instead, leave the personal information to your personal Wi-Fi if you want to practice good internet safety.
Backup your data
The final tip in honor of Safer Internet Day is to back up the data that you have on your phone or laptop. Backing up data means that you copy your data, like documents, photos, and files, and transfer it to a secondary location to store it. A common example is putting your info in iCloud, the go-to version of backing up data for Apple users.
Backing up your data is nice because it is a safety net if you somehow download a piece of malware that deletes your files. It is a sort of insurance policy for your files. While it won’t help you with things like stolen passwords, it will at least help you from losing valuable files like photos with your friends and family. Not only is it useful, but it’s also easy to do! If you have a personal computer or phone, we recommend doing this as fast as you can.
So celebrate Safer Internet Day the right way – by taking your internet security seriously! Change those passwords, update your software, and back up your data. Your future self might thank you for doing these easy yet important steps.