The Guide to Keeping Yourself Safe Online

The Internet and social media has over the years proved to be both a blessing and a curse. While it’s amazing to learn things, keep in touch with everyone’s lives no matter where they are, get some much-needed compliments when you take that ah-mazing selfie – there is a dark side to the web. Thanks to the quick and easy spread of information, you can face all sorts of issues online that not only harasses and affects you, but which can affect your off-line safety as well.

Here are some tips that you can follow to help you be a little safer online.

1. Password Protect Everything:

This may seem basic, but we all slip up sometimes. Remember, even something like Pick Me needs a secure password as it holds personal information like your phone number, home address, how often you travel and where etc. Make it a habit to change all your passwords every couple of months, yes, it’s annoying but it helps!

2. Privacy Settings:

Something that seems obvious, but surprising how many of us forget the details. Remember that today data is everything, a person can build up a profile of your habits, likes, dislikes, movements just by looking at what you have shared. Turn off location services for public posts and have private accounts if part of your work is to be public online.

3. Beware Phone Repair Shops:

Many people don’t realize that by cutting corners and giving their phone to cheap repair shops they are putting themselves at risk. Try and use an authorized phone dealer based on your brand as much as possible as they keep track of their employees and records. It may be more expensive but it is far safer.

4. Think Before You Press Send/Post:

Remember deleting isn’t enough. People can take screenshots before you remove a post, and there are apps that can bypass the Snapchat screenshot notification. If you are sending sensitive or private images/videos, think about who you are sending it to and if you would be okay if they leaked. Don’t include your face if you still want to send but are unsure. Never feel like you have to send something if you are uncomfortable – you have every right to say no!

5. Use two-factor authentication/log-in notifications whenever possible:

Two-factor authentication adds another layer of security when logging into a website, be it e-mail, banking, or other websites. Some websites, such as Google, will text you a code when your login to verify your identity, while others have small devices that you can carry around to generate the code. Other types of two-factor authentication do exist as well, so look in the settings of your banking, shopping, and e-mail hosts for the option. For log-in notifications (for example used by Facebook) if your account is accessed from an unfamiliar location, a notification is sent via e-mail, app, or text-message to the account holder. Activate these settings.

 

Remember if you are facing issues cyber harassment, bullying, exploitation, or violence – make a complaint at your nearest police station. If you need help assessing your case or would like some support, please reach out to Women in Need or The Grassrooted Trust who will be able to help.

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Sharanya

Sharanya Sekaram has harboured a passion for writing for longer than she can remember. She uses the opportunity to write on any and everything when possible - and believes that words can change lives. Sharanya also has an obsession with simplicity and straightforwardness being used in all aspects of one’s life.

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