5 Simple Rules for Safer Web Browsing

Relaxing in a chair in your own home behind a computer screen makes it easy to mistake comfort for security. A certain level of awareness is important to maintain while browsing the internet, and making a habit of certain behaviors can make it easier. Following these 5 simple rules will increase your internet safety without interfering with your browsing habits.

  • Don’t place too much trust in internet anonymity

Whatever you put on the internet, stays on the internet--and eventually someone will find it. Web posts can be found quickly via search engine, and even nicknames or false names can be re-used and traced back to your identity. To avoid negative consequences, make sure that everything you post reflects how you want to be seen by your peers.

  • Never ignore the importance of personal data

Many websites that offer free access to content request personal data in exchange--which they can then use to present you with targeted ads. Think about what you’re giving away before you click the Accept button--providing personal data should not be taken lightly. Try to limit the release of personal data: instead of offering it freely in return for quizzes and games, only give it to websites you actually care about.

  • Pay attention to your connection type

The mistake of ignoring connection type has particular risks for users on an unprotected public wireless network. If neither the network or the connection is secure, avoid entering any sensitive information on the website, such as passwords or credit/banking information to minimize the risk of data theft.

  • Diversify your passwords

It is a safe practice to create a unique password for each online account you hold. This is to prevent hackers from accessing all of your personal information--if you use one password for everything, then all of your accounts will be compromised if just one is hacked. An easy way to avoid this is to use a password manager, such as LastPass or Dashlane. For more information on these services, check out this article about Password Managers.

  • Don’t assume online shopping is always safe

Many e-commerce websites make the security of their customer’s information a high priority. However, this is not always the case--new shopping sites appear on a regular basis, and not all of them are as legitimate as you may think. Always be careful who you trust with your credit and banking information.