Don’t drive or seat in the front seat of a vehicle without buckling your seat belt. Don’t ride bikes without wearing a helmet. Always look to the left and to the right (even if it’s a one-way road) before crossing the road. All these are safety tips that exist to help us, but many people ignore them nonetheless. 1.3 million people die from road accidents of various kinds every year. The point is, when you get safety advice/tips, don’t neglect them. A couple years ago, a girl was kidnapped and eventually killed after being lured through Facebook. Online security is not a joking matter. If you get sloppy, you might pay dearly for it.

Now that I have your attention, here are eight ways for you to stay safe online. You wouldn’t want someone hacking into your computer, sniffing your passwords, or stealing your documents, would you?

1. Don’t open strange email attachments

Be careful about the kinds of email attachments you open, even if it’s from a familiar email. Someone’s email (whom you know) could have been hacked and used to send spyware that will download to your system when you open such attachments.

2. Don’t browse funny websites looking for torrents, porn or gambling

To avoid trouble on this front, just ask your friends to recommend sites to you. This way you won’t stumble on a funny website and crash your computer in the process.

3. Don’t do sensitive transactions or login to secure accounts over public WiFi

Don’t buy stuff or transfer money over public WiFi. Don’t use your debit/credit cards to purchase items online while on public wifi. Limit transactions of this kind to your private internet connection. Say, your home wifi (if locked) or your internet modem.  You don’t know who might be sniffing passwords.

4. Don’t let apps broadcast your location without your knowledge

Always make sure to check if your location is turned on, accidentally. Your location should be turned on if necessary and only when it is safe to. Otherwise, keep it private. Don’t send out random Facebook posts or tweets about where you are. Not everybody is online to catch fun or connect. Someone unwanted can follow you home if you are not careful.

5. Never enter your password and pin into a funny looking website

If you don’t trust the website, never ever enter your password or pin on it. If you do, you’re on your own.

6. Beware of phishing

This has nothing to do with catching tilapia, croaker or mackerels. It simply means you should be wary of online fraudsters who pose as legitimate companies, asking for your financial details. Don’t reply any emails asking you to send a sum of money so that one prince or princess somewhere can have access to an inheritance, and send you some of it in return.

7. Install an antivirus

Antivirus software isn’t mean for external disk drives alone. They also protect your computer from virus roaming the world wide web, looking for whose system to devour.

8. Change your passwords frequently. Don’t use passwords like your name, birthday or surname

Passwords with such characters or character combinations are easy to hack. Make sure your passwords are safe, and that they differ on your different online accounts. Also, make sure you change them periodically.

Photo Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis via Compfight cc

David Adeleke Author

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