Protecting Yourself on the Internet

In today's age, almost everything we do is tied, in some way or another, to the internet and its seemingly endless expanse of data and information.


Deciding what to eat for dinner? We Google search the hottest restaurants near us.


Having trouble finding a store? We whip out the GPS.


It's no secret that the amount of data the internet can provide us with in just a matter of seconds has changed the way we do life-- and that's a good thing.


What's not good, though, is when the personal data that we share falls into the wrong hands. And while there's unfortunately no singular, foolproof way to protect ourselves against every unwanted cyber advance, there are several ways we can maintain security and privacy while browsing.


1. Install antivirus software: There are a number of great antivirus solutions that don't cost a thing, and the level of security they have the capacity to provide is downright impressive. Antivirus software helps protect us against internet phishing and ransomware attacks-- two of the biggest channels bad guys use to get at our sensitive information.


2.  Keep your computer software up to date: Depending on the number of applications you need for your device, the time it takes to make sure your computer software is up to date can vary, but it's vitally important not to neglect checking. Even the simplest of platforms and applications release patches and updates, and not updating can leave your software vulnerable to strong-arm attacks from experienced hackers. Once you get everything updated the first time, keeping it updated usually only takes a few minutes every now and again.


3. Be cautious: We saved this one for last because it's the one piece of advice we have the tendency to discount when it matters most. Thinking "that won't happen to me," or "I don't have anything worth stealing on my device" can make us lackadaisical when browsing, and that's just what the bad guys want. Be careful when receiving emails from addresses you don't recognize, and certainly don't click on any links that aren't from verifiable sources. We even advise that you don't visit unsecured sites if you can avoid them.


Taking simple steps to browse smarter can be one of the most effective ways to stay secure on the internet-- and the good news is that these steps don't require a whole lot of time, effort, or money. The internet is a wonderful platform, but it's not without its risks. Doing what we can to minimize those risks can help us enjoy surfing and browsing even more.

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