4 ways to surf the Internet safely

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4 ways to surf the Internet safely
4 ways to surf the Internet safely

The internet is a very important part of everyday life for many people. It's fun, useful, and informative, but it can also be dangerous, no matter how safe you feel navigating it. If you get into the habit of using good Internet security practices, you can protect your information and identity for many years.


Method 1 of 4: Protect your passwords

Be Safe on the Internet Step 1
Be Safe on the Internet Step 1

Step 1. Use unique and difficult passwords

When creating a password for your account, be sure to mix numbers, symbols and letters, both uppercase and lowercase. Avoid repeating the password for multiple accounts. Although it is more difficult to remember, you will keep your information much more secure.

  • Try abbreviating a sentence. For example, "I always get happy when I go to the movies" could be shortened to "SmP @ cV @ c."
  • Longer passwords are always more difficult, so use a favorite quote or verse from a song, book, or movie. Since certain web pages have restrictions on the number of characters in passwords, be sure to follow them.
  • Avoid using common passwords like "123456" or "password" or information about yourself that other people could easily discover, for example, a nickname, the street where you live or the name of your pet.

Step 2. Keep your passwords safe and organized with a password manager

Password managers automatically create and save unique and difficult passwords for each of your accounts. You only need to create a master password for the manager and it will keep all the others safe.

  • Some password managers are free to use, but there are more premium options that require a fee.
  • 1Password and LastPass are some of the most trusted and popular password managers. You can find others by searching the internet.
  • You can also use your browser's password synchronization service, although this is considered less secure and more vulnerable to hacker attacks, so use it with caution.

Step 3. Activate multi-factor authentication on your accounts

Multi-factor authentication makes an account much more secure by asking you for additional information to let you log in, such as a code sent to your cell phone. Many email providers and social media accounts offer such a service.

  • Go to the configuration page of the website to find out if your account has the multi-factor authentication option.
  • Although this additional step may seem like a bit of a hassle, it will keep your information more secure than just using a password.

Step 4. Register only on legitimate web pages

Think carefully before creating an account on a website, even if it only asks for your email address. As secure as your passwords are, your information will be at risk if you use them on insecure web pages.

  • Avoid web pages with spelling and grammar mistakes in their addresses, as they could be dangerous imitators of legitimate web pages.
  • Also watch out for web pages with lots of pop-up advertising or numbers or nonsense in their addresses.

Step 5. Log out when you have finished using the web pages

Logging into a web page generates a cookie in your browser that identifies you and can compromise your account if it is stolen. This is especially a problem on web pages that contain private information, such as your bank account or credit card number. That is why it is better to log out when finished.

  • Disconnect from any web page you visit on a computer or public network.
  • Disconnect from any online banking or shopping website you use, even on your computer and home network.
  • It's generally okay to stay connected to accounts like email or social media on your home computer, as long as you don't forget to lock your computer if you leave it unattended at some point.

Method 2 of 4: Use Social Media and Emails Safely

Step 1. Make your profiles private

Keeping your social media profiles private will make it difficult for strangers to contact you online or access your information. Choose an option that leaves your profile visible only to you and your friends.

  • Go to your account settings and the security or privacy menu to view and change your privacy level.
  • If you decide to keep your profile public, make sure essential information (like your address and phone number) is hidden.

Step 2. Check what information is visible to the public in the profiles of your social networks

Important data regarding your account can be sneaked in and visible to the public, especially if you have recently created or edited your profile. Go to the privacy section of your account to verify what is currently accessible to people who are not your friends.

Do this every 2-3 months to make sure everything you want private stays that way

Step 3. Think about whether you will regret posting something later

Part of safe surfing on the Internet is knowing what is and is not okay to post. Posting something inappropriate or provocative may feel good at the moment, but remember that people all over the world can view, share, and take screenshots of posts, even if you delete them.

As a general rule of thumb, ask yourself if your post is something you'd like your parents, teachers, or future employers to see. If the answer is no, don't post it

Step 4. Review the posts you've been tagged in before approving them

Turn on tag review to prevent something harmful or embarrassing from being linked to your account. This is especially important if your friends' accounts are not private, since anyone could see an image or post in which they tag you.

  • Activate the label settings in the privacy settings.
  • You will first receive a notification when someone tags you in a post. Afterwards, you will be given the option to approve the tag and put the post on your account or reject it.
  • If you are still concerned about a photo even after removing your tag, speak to the person who posted it to have it removed.

Step 5. Never give personal information to a person you have met online

Although this may seem obvious, it is always important to remember it. No matter how well you think you know someone you've met online, you can never really be sure who they are and if they could be dangerous.

Avoid providing contact information such as your name, address or phone number, as well as other information that could make it easy for them to find you, such as your study or work center

Step 6. Be careful when meeting someone you have met on the Internet

It's best not to meet in person with someone you've only talked to online, but certain situations might require it. For example, when you sell something on Craigslist or use an online dating website. In those cases, date the person in a public place and bring a friend with you.

  • If you can't bring a friend, tell someone where you're going to be, with whom, and for how long.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, never agree to meet in person with someone you have met online.

Step 7. Use pseudonyms without specific gender in the forums

Even private or invitation-only forums can be riskier than social media chats, so take extra precautions to protect your identity. If possible, use a gender-neutral pseudonym and avoid posting photos of yourself or linking to your other social networks.

Step 8. Do not open emails or files from unknown people

Phishers are people who use fake messages or emails to make you share personal information. If you receive an email from an unknown address or an address that you know but with a suspicious message, send it to the spam folder.

  • The email may also contain links that appear legitimate, but never click on them until you verify that it is a legitimate message.
  • If you know the person who owned the email used to scam, tell them their account was hacked and report the spoofing by filing a complaint with the FBI's Cybercrime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
  • Identity thieves often look for your bank account or social security number, so be very careful if you receive an email asking for money, account access details, or very personal information.

Method 3 of 4: Use secure web pages and networks

Be Safe on the Internet Step 5
Be Safe on the Internet Step 5

Step 1. Avoid clicking on web pages that appear to be fake or a scam

If you know anything about the Internet, chances are you can recognize bad links when you see them: grammar mistakes, pop-up advertising, flashy headlines, or a web address that seems fake. Avoid clicking on these web pages and never download anything from them.

Browsing these web pages can infect your computer with a virus or cause it to crash

Step 2. Clear your browsing history frequently to maintain your privacy

Many web pages have access to your cookies: small text files that record your preferences and let web pages respond to them mostly to show you more relevant ads. However, hackers can also use cookies as a way to access your personal information.

Delete your cookies once a month to clean the personal information they may contain

Be Safe on the Internet Step 11
Be Safe on the Internet Step 11

Step 3. Make purchases on encrypted web pages

When shopping online or connecting to your bank account online, verify that the URL begins with "https" instead of "http." The "s" indicates that the website is secure and encrypts your data to prevent it from being stolen.

  • Secure web pages should also have a small lock icon in the URL field.
  • Although it is a good idea to save your information on a shopping web page, you should always do so with caution, since this puts you at risk if the page is hacked.

Step 4. Use private WiFi networks, never public

Public WiFi (like those in restaurants, hotels, or airports) is often insecure, allowing anyone to hack into your computer. Only connect to an insecure network when absolutely necessary and be aware of the risks this can cause.

  • If you frequently need to use WiFi when you are away from home, buy a virtual private network (VPN), a device that can create a private and secure connection from anywhere.
  • You should also be careful when connecting on your cell phone. If possible, confirm the name and WiFi login requirements with the appropriate personnel before connecting.

Step 5. Use an antivirus extension in your browser

For added security when browsing the Internet, download an anti-virus extension to check the security of a web page or block pop-up advertisements with viruses or malicious content. Remember to only download from a legitimate page, such as the Chrome app store, to ensure that the extension is secure.

Step 6. Install a firewall to protect your home network

The firewall is an electronic barrier that prevents unauthorized devices from accessing your computer or cell phone. Many computers already come with one. Go to the security section of your computer to check if that is your case.

With a prepayment, you can also download a firewall program from authorized companies such as Norton, McAfee, or Microsoft

Step 7. Keep your computer programs updated

In general, program updates come with security updates, so it is important to always have the latest version. To download updates as soon as they are available, turn on automatic updates in your computer's settings.

Method 4 of 4: Stay safe on your phone

Step 1. Activate an encryption program on your cell phone

Many cell phones come encrypted. This consists of encrypting your information to prevent unauthorized users from accessing it. To find out if your cell phone is encrypted, go to settings and click on the security option.

  • Automatically encrypted cell phones are the iPhone, the latest Android and Google Pixel cell phones.
  • You can activate the encryption program on your Android by entering the security menu.
  • For additional protection, download encryption apps from the app store.

Step 2. Put your Bluetooth device in "not visible" mode

While your cell phone's Bluetooth is not as easy to hack as a wireless network, hackers can still remotely access your cell phone through this device when they are within range. To avoid this, change the default setting of your Bluetooth to "not visible" mode so as not to appear on the radar of hackers.

  • If you see an unknown Bluetooth request to pair with your device, immediately ignore or reject it.
  • Be very careful in crowded areas where potential hackers are within range of your Bluetooth, such as restaurants and public transportation.

Step 3. Download apps only from verified stores

The easiest way for viruses to enter your cell phone is through application downloads. Generally, “official” stores like the Apple App Store or Google Play are considered safe places to buy apps. You should never download one from any other website.

Do not forget to read the requirements, terms and conditions of an application before installing it. Although this can be long and boring, it is important to know exactly what you are installing on your device

Step 4. Download a security program for added protection

To ensure more reliable protection for your cell phone, purchase a mobile security package. Typically this includes a firewall and spam protection, in addition to GPS location to help you find a lost or stolen device.

Some security packages also offer a remote lock to prevent anyone from using a stolen cell phone


  • If possible, install antivirus and malware protection, as this is one of the most reliable ways to keep your hard drive safe.
  • Get protection against identity theft through your bank or another separate service. This will help you detect any attempted identity theft by notifying you of leaked information or suspicious purchases.
  • Remember to create a backup copy of your data in the cloud or on an external hard drive. If your device is hacked, your information will be safely stored elsewhere.
  • To add an additional level of security to your phone, create a PIN or use the fingerprint or face identification options. In this way, it will be more difficult for someone to access your information in case of loss or theft of your cell phone.

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