9 things one should never do on the internet
The internet has made our lives much easier, but people often make mistakes when using it, which they regret later. Blunders like accidentally uploading old middle-school photos on social media can cause simple embarrassment. But other slip-ups, like clicking on an innocuous-looking link on a random email, may have graver consequences, including losing one’s bank balance. To avoid such problems, here are certain things to never do on the internet.
Clicking on links in suspicious emails
Fraudulent emails are among the most common forms of phishing and malware-based attacks. Many people receive emails stating they have won prizes like a penthouse, a fancy sports car, or a million dollars and must click on a link to claim their reward. When users click on such links, rootkits are downloaded onto their systems. Rootkits are malicious software that give cybercriminals complete access to a computer and the information stored on it.
Phishing emails usually go to the spam folder of one’s email account. If that does not happen, individuals must delete and report spurious emails with harmful links.
Using public Wi-Fi without a VPN
Public Wi-Fi is a crowd-favorite as it saves precious internet data when outdoors. However, such networks are also hunting grounds for hackers and cybercriminals. Malicious entities can access devices connected to the network and misuse information stored on them. In fact, hackers themselves set up free and easily accessible internet connections in public places.
To avoid a cyber attack, individuals can download and enable a virtual private network (VPN) when connected to public Wi-Fi. A VPN acts as a secret tunnel by creating an encrypted connection through a safe and secure server. This encryption obscures the user’s IP address and location so that hackers cannot access their device while they surf the internet using a public Wi-Fi network. Thanks to a VPN, individuals can browse the internet without worrying about someone tailing them secretly.
While a VPN can be handy, people should avoid assessing an unknown Wi-Fi or hotspot unless absolutely necessary. Doing so can help stay away from invasive cyber attacks.
Posting sensitive information on social media
Social media platforms allow people to express their personality quirks, likes, dislikes, and opinions. They are also a digital gateway to friends and family members from all around the world. However, one must be careful about what and how much information they share on social media. Oversharing can be highly problematic. Posting sensitive personal details can result in identity theft and cyberbullying. Some mischief makers may also publish one’s private information on other websites.
The best way to avoid such problems is to only share information and media that cannot be exploited and re-shared without one’s knowledge. Individuals may also check the privacy settings of their social media accounts and increase their privacy level. It ensures a person’s posts are visible only to close friends, relatives, and those authorized.
Disabling two-factor authentication
Many reputable websites and apps ask users to enable two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized persons from logging in to their accounts or assessing files. With this setting enabled, one must enter their regular login credentials, plus answer a personal question or provide a one-time password (OTP) sent on another device to log into an account.
While two-factor authentication may be enabled to protect any profile, including social media handles, the setting is especially helpful for securing banking apps. It protects people against monetary fraud and phishing attacks.
Using the same password for multiple platforms
This is a cyber-hygiene mistake most people make. After all, remembering and using just a single password is incredibly convenient and easy. However, using a single password is like using the same key for all the doors in a house. If hackers crack the password, they will slowly but surely hack into every account linked to it. This makes it one of the things never to do on the internet.
Using separate passwords is safer than using the same one for multiple accounts. Experts recommend using a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters to create strong passwords.
Shopping at unknown e-commerce stores
Online shopping sites have made purchasing goods so easy that people are always tempted to pick up their phones and order away. However, using e-commerce sites can be dangerous. Hackers may create fake shopping apps or sites to extract money from unsuspecting customers. So, one must always assess the store’s credibility before purchasing. Saving credit card details on e-commerce websites is another thing to never do on the internet.
Taking online personality quizzes
Personality quizzes are fun but just a thinly veiled attempt to collect user data in many cases. One must stay away from quizzes with titles like “discover which character you are from XYZ movie or TV series” and self-assessment tests that demand personal information.
Downloading apps from non-recommended sites
As implied earlier, hackers create fake apps and websites to fool people and get control of their personal information or money. One must download apps only from authorized app stores or trustworthy websites.
Sharing login credentials
This is arguably the most basic cyber-hygiene habit. One should never share the login credentials of any of their accounts online. Hackers and other cybercriminals constantly await to pounce on such mistakes to steal user data.