5 Online Security Measures to Surf the Web Safely By Will Wisser Posted on September 16, 2018 2 min read 0 10,201 Computer viruses, hackers, cybercriminals… the list of threats on the web never ends. These security measures can help you thwart attacks against your data. The Internet is a source of many thing: entertainment, knowledge, news, communication, and of course, malware and hackers. Online security of users is becoming critical as hackers get more creative with their fraudulent techniques against unsuspecting netizens. Malware can infect your devices in a variety of ways on the Internet, from emails, phishing links, scam software/extensions, and outdated software. With malware and hacking attacks open from so many different directions, users can be overwhelmed worrying about the possibilities of an attack and how vulnerable they really are. However, it is a mistake to worry excessively about these problems without taking any measures towards safe online surfing. In this blog, I’m going to discuss a few steps you can take to effectively shield yourself from many forms of cyberattacks and acquire some of that peace of mind that is running low in present-day society. 1. Update All System and Security Software This is a common enough tip but one that cannot be stressed enough. The first thing you need to keep in mind about computer security is that hackers and cybercriminals never rest easy. They are constantly evolving their methods and developing new types of malware to break down your walls of defense and infect your devices. The only way security can be maintained against these persistent cybercriminals is to make continual improvements to software in the form of updates. This is why updates are frequently launched in order that the emerging forms of malware attacks can be thwarted. So, keep all your system software updated at all times! 2. Stay Safe over Free and Public Wi-Fi One of the easiest ways people exposed themselves on the Internet without even realizing is when they are using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Cybercriminals can perpetrate man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks on public Wi-Fi without much difficulty. This is because public Wi-Fi hotspots are usually not protected by strong passwords, nor are they secured and encrypted using robust protocols. This leaves open ground for cybercriminals to uncover a security hole in the network intercept the traffic of users, completing a MiTM attack. The best prevention for these security risks is to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. However, if you must use one, then you should only do so with the help of a secure VPN service. A VPN routes your data through a secured private tunnel and can easily frustrate the attempts of hackers trying to steal your identity. On this matter, Aazim Akhtar (Senior Editor of VPNRanks.com) stated, “Rogue hotspots and compromised Public Wi-Fi networks are serious online security risks that the average user often unknowingly falls prey to. I personally avoid using shared and public networks, but any user that wants to use one really should take preventive measures, the best of which is to have a VPN running in the background.” 3. Use Trusted Browser Extensions Modern browsers are full of excellent features and these can be farther expanded with dozens of add-ons and extensions. The multiplicity of extensions, however, means that not every one of them is built securely, and some may even be downright scams. What’s more, several extensions also collect usage data which is then sold to data analysts and marketer. This Chrome extension malware guide provides a few great tips you can use to make sure your extensions are secure. 4. Be Vigilant on your Email Inbox Email fraud is the oldest method of computer virus infections. Although it not as destructive as modern hacks such as ransomware, it infected links spread over emails can still lead to theft of financial information and even cause software damage to your device. You should never directly visit a page through email if you do not trust the sender and it contains links. Rather, if you need to visit the page highlighted in the email, you can do so directly through Google just to make sure you are redirected to a scam page. 5. Use Antimalware Software Having antimalware software on your system should be as basic as wearing clothes when leaving the house. Modern malware program are becoming incredibly sophisticated and it is not sufficient to simply rely on built-in OS security. An updated antimalware software is necessary to help protect both your data and your device. Although prevention should be the priority, it is better to be prepared for the worst and have a means of recovery should malware start infecting your files. Finishing Up Online security is a constant battle against hackers coming up with new ways of stealing your data and compromising your systems. In this battle, the only hope of victory is by relying on multiple lines of defense and just being careful while surfing the terrain of the web.