From time to time we return to the question of security on the Internet. We believe this should be done as often as possible, not least because we spend a considerable part of our lives online. Therefore, let’s review a few basic rules that should be followed in order to increase your safety.
- Don’t visit dubious sites. Of course, forbidden fruit is sweet. However, is what you see worth the risk of serious security-related problems? There could be a Trojan, a phishing attack, a man-in-the-middle attack – anything. What’s more, they can be activated by hiding behind some perfectly harmless function. For example, by pressing the ‘play’ button on a video you could simultaneously be launching a keylogger that will intercept your keystrokes and send information to cybercriminals. Or when you start the player, you could unknowingly be agreeing to switch on a built-in camera. Or you might be offered “something even more interesting” for a symbolic sum that needs to be withdrawn from your bank card. Hence the second point is…
- Never make online payments with your main bank card. Most online stores and services accept payments from virtual wallets. Set up several digital wallets on different well-known resources and leave just enough cash in them to buy books, music, movies or to pay for services. That way, in the event of an attack, you will only lose a small amount of cash. By the way, if it really is necessary to pay for a service, it is best to do it in cash via a payment terminal. This is much safer.
- Don’t register on sites using your main email address. Create a separate email account on a free resource. Do not to use your real home address, name or surname. The less personal information you provide the less chance you have of being attacked by cybercriminals. This will also help you keep your main email accounts clear of clutter.
- Do not link registration on forums or entertainment sites to your social network accounts. Many resources now offer a simplified registration procedure, just by entering your login and password for popular social networks. Are you sure that this data will not be used against you? One of the most common types of attacks on users who register on other resources using their social network accounts is social engineering. Any stranger will be able to study your environment and your private life and then introduce himself as one of your friends from, for example, Facebook. The rest is just a matter of technique.
- Don’t tell the whole world what you had for dinner and where you are flying tomorrow. And don’t complain that there’s nobody to feed your beloved cat while you are away. Use private messaging or a face-to-face meeting to ask your close friends to do it. Otherwise, you are just playing into the hands of a thief who will take advantage of your absence – and it won’t be to feed your hungry cat.
- Be careful what photos you show! Before you publish your photos online, make sure they don’t contain anything intimate that you don’t want everyone to see. Otherwise, you could end up paying dearly to a blackmailer who makes a copy and demands a ransom. But this isn’t the most common scenario; more often, the camera lens captures bank card numbers, boarding passes, winning lottery tickets, as well as passports or driving licenses. If used expertly (and you can be sure there a lot of highly qualified experts on the Internet!), a photo like this could result in you losing a lot of money.
We are so deeply rooted in the Internet that it can provide more information about us than any offline service. Not every state archive or intelligence agency could boast of having such a vault of compromising personal information that we voluntarily put on the Web. And if you value your private life, your good name and your savings, be careful about what you do and how you do it on the Internet.