The Internet is how we connect to nearly every facet of our lives. From communicating with friends and family to watching television, using the internet has changed the way we interact with the world. As wonderful as these advances in technology have been, they’re not without downsides.
Scammers and hacker are a constant threat to our lives. It’s not just businesses that are affected, but also communities and our personal lives. Now you can’t prevent everything in the world, but there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you’re doing your part for to protect yourself online with safer Internet browsing habits. Here are 5 tips to help you along your way.
Check the Spelling of a URL
If you’ve ever gotten an email from a company or a person and they put a link into their email you know that the temptation to just click it without thinking is definitely there. But before you do, look at the link, does it have spelling errors? We’ve all shopped on eBay, but probably not eebay.com.
Now, it’s not always so easy to spot these scam websites. Often times the URLs aren’t just out there, they’re embedded in hyperlinked text like this: checkout this link! This is usually how you’ll see a scam link. A quick way to check the URL spelling is by hovering over that link if you’re on your PC. The link will pop up and you can check it to make sure it’s a website you can trust.
Look at the Writing
This is especially important when it comes to email. Sometimes your own judgement is better than any technical tool. If an email looks suspicious when you read it, sometimes ignoring it or sending it to your IT department is the best decision. Emails with overtly bad grammar or spelling that ask you to click on links, contact someone, or take any action should be met with a certain level of caution.
These emails are often written by bots and are meant to be phishing scams. If you don’t know if an email is safe or not, air on the side of caution.
Use a Domain Checker
A domain safety checking tool does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Without having to go to a URL you can check its safety and black list rating. The easiest way to do this is to hover over that domain link (if it’s embedded text or a “click me” button) and type the address into a domain checker like URLVoid.
It will tell you a lot of information about the domain’s status. This information can help you decide if the site is valid or not.
“Google” the Business
It might seem like this is an over-simplified answer, but the reality is this is probably one of the more fool proof ways to ensure that you’re interacting with a safe website. With your email information being bought and sold by marketers, and also by companies or people that are looking to do harm, simply doing an internet search for the business can help establish legitimacy for someone who’s reached out to you.
We often get put on email lists by mistake, or even through purchased lists. These companies can be legitimate and the links are safe, but others may not be. Doing a few seconds of homework on your end can help keep your browsing safer.
Use an Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software isn’t a cure all, but like regular oil changes or eating healthy, they can prevent a lot of things from happening that wouldn’t have otherwise. If you’re using Microsoft, Microsoft Defender is already built in, but a paid software can often give another level of security. The right software for your needs can be tricky, and speaking with an IT professional is probably your best bet to make sure you get what’s right for you.
Conclusion Safer Internet browsing is a combination of proactive work such as getting an anti-virus software and reactive activities like checking spelling and being cognizant of spelling. But your personal and financial data are at stake here, and that’s generally worth the extra work. Safe browsing can help you, your business, and your family stay protected from hackers and other groups from gaining access to the most sensitive information about you.