This last article from the Internet Security Basics series part one, summarizes some of the previous articles to drive home one main point: think and act smart while on the Internet and you will have a good chance of avoiding dangers and threats.
Generally, the biggest danger to most users on the Internet is themselves. Learn to protect yourself while on the Web, so that it becomes intuitive and more effective than trying to remember specific rules.
The Internet may seem like another world, but it is only a tool to enhance our lives with entertainment, interactivity, information, shopping and more. You can find just about anything on the Internet, and you will also come across questionable material, offers and communications. For example, if you receive a questionable email, ask yourself how probable is it that a very rich and powerful king in Africa has been arrested and he now needs your $20 donation? As a reward, he promises he will divide his property among all donators once he is released? When you think about it, this scenario is not very likely so avoid this type of communication.
Make informed decisions
You should know as much information as possible about everything that requires your participation on the Internet, such as personal information, settings, payments, etc. If you’re not sure, leave it to the professionals. For example, if you buy a Wi-Fi router to have a wireless network at home, all you have to do is plug it in for electricity, connect to the network and it is done. You are online! But if the network is set using default settings, it is open to everyone in range, including your neighbors, who can connect to your network. This shows why it is necessary to be informed about any device you’re hooking up to the Internet or websites you are sharing information with before plunging in. If you are not sure, do some research beforehand or leave it to the professionals.
For important information, always double-check your work. Some things to be mindful about include controlling the email address you are sending important information to and from so it is kept secure. Or, when deleting files from the hard drive, be sure you have selected the right files, not disabled security software, haven’t entered any typos, and backed up your data, etc. Just be careful about what you are doing.
Unknown crime is still a crime
Keep in mind that nearly all software is licensed and most are typically paid for. Using pirated copies is illegal, and there are many risks associated with using pirated products like software. What may seem to be a good deal is actually very damaging to the software developers, retailers and end users like you, and can be especially risky if you are running a business. You should also be aware of Internet activities that are potentially risky such as logging in to another person’s account, such as email, and using their information in chancy environments, like connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi network, among other actions.
Treat Internet activity sensibly
Because Internet accessibility to products and services is so convenient, most people don’t buy products from door-to-door salesmen any more. You can visit a specialized shop you know has a good reputation to view, handle and buy products you want. The same common sense approach should be used when on the Web. Do your research, before you buy. Read reviews, testimonials and ratings for items you want and make sure the merchant has a good reputation before handing over your money. You can easily find quality information, products, software and services online just like you would offline. Be sensible about your Internet activity and you‘ll have a more enjoyable and safer online experience.