With the Internet traffic increasing now more than ever as we get into the early days of the New Year 2023, the Ghana Internet Safety Foundation – led by its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Adinkrah – has offered some top useful tips for staying safe online and avoiding hackers, among other cyber criminals.
Here are some useful tech-safety information:
Avoid sharing your nude photos
- If you’re not entirely sure that you can trust your partner, don’t share any nude photos.
- Even if you’re sure your partner won’t share your nudes, and confident they won’t end up on a weird Internet chat room – which are all legitimate concerns, once a photo is shared it never really disappears.
- The Internet is forever and there are real-life consequences for the things you share online.
- Even on Snapchat, where photos disappear in 24 hours, there is no guarantee someone won’t screenshot your pic or take a picture using someone else’s phone.
Shop more securely
Using a credit card to buy goods online is safer than using a debit card. This is because any fraudulent transaction made using your debit card sees money withdrawn from your bank account but most credit cards come with fraud protection.
Make sure the shop site is secure
If you’re shopping online, you can protect yourself further by only shopping on sites with HTTPS as a URL prefix and a padlock icon to the left or the right of the URL. The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. This signifies that communications between your browser and the website concerned are encrypted.
Update your operating system
Make sure your machine is running the latest version of your operating system and install system updates immediately. Updating your operating system ensures your machine has the latest software to protect itself.
Update your anti-virus software
An out-of-date virus checker is only marginally better than none at all. Hundreds of thousands of new variants of malicious software appear each year in addition to new strains, so the set of malware your virus checker knew about when you first installed it can get out of date very quickly.
Use complex passwords for each account
A recent article by NordPass reported that ‘password’ and variations of ‘123456789’ still rank among the most commonly used. Using capital letters, lower-case letters, numbers and special characters – such as an asterix or a question mark – make passwords much harder for hackers to crack.
Use a password manager
You probably have more accounts than you can remember; so, consider using a reputable password manager such as LastPass. Then use two-factor authentication – such as Google’s 2-Step Verification – to protect your online accounts.
Watch out for Flash
Adobe Flash, a tool used to create online games and animations, is one of the most common ways PCs get infected with malware. Think about disabling it. Adobe isn’t recommending the use of Flash anymore because of security concerns. Check your system.
Avoid putting PII on social media
PII is personally identifiable information, and hackers use this to help them crack passwords and work their way into your confidence for scams. Consider setting your social media profiles so that only friends can see what you put online.