The Internet has opened new doors to unlimited information that is available on the World Wide Web. Today the answers to most of our queries lay just a few clicks away and the majority of us do not shy away from using this incredible resource.
Although it is quite easy to find what you’re looking for online, it’s just as easy to come across some of the unwanted material that is lurking out there. Things like malware and privacy attacks are common these days. Most people do not realize the importance of securing their internet connections from unexpected intrusions into their networks and consequently their computers. This costs time, effort and money in case of stolen financial credentials.
Simple know-how on how to handle basic security concerns over the internet can help many users become more secure and avoid undesirable headaches. Read on and become a smarter advocate of your online presence.
The fundamental function of a firewall is to keep unwanted visitors out. It protects you from anyone trying to access your computer through unauthorized connection by using your computer’s vulnerable ports. It is a great idea to check the integrity of these ports by using services of the sorts of ShieldUp that prod at the ports of your computer and report if it is isable to breach your defenses. If your firewall is unsuccessful in blocking this service from penetrating your system then it is worth getting a more secure solution.
Antivirus software inspects your downloads and makes sure that nothing unwanted and malicious slides into your computer. You should always ensure the active protection of your antivirus and that it’s working properly. Poor software would not spot the threats trying to invade your computer and this will result in your system being infected.
To test the superiority of your antivirus, one can download certain files that are marked as viruses in most antivirus software. Doing this will give you the peace of mind over the functionality of your antivirus without infecting your computer. Files like EICAR can be used to undertake this activity without harmful effects.
- Protocols (HTTP vs. HTTPS)
When visiting websites it’s important to be aware of the different protocols. Namely, you should know about two different types. HTTP protocol websites are one that uses “plaintext” when data is exchanged with them. This translates into the absence of encryption within you and the distant server. This gives people a chance to note your private information, therefore; HTTP sites are dangerous, as you never know who might be recording your data.
On the other hand, HTTPS encrypts your data properly and is usually used when you log into various websites. This hides your information and makes you less vulnerable to online threats. To know which website is using HTTPS you can inspect the URL, if it starts with HTTPS then that means your connection is secure. Internet browsers also display a small icon in the shape of a padlock next to the address bar, which is a sign that your connection to the specific site is secure.
So to sum it up, if you use HTTPS protocol to log into a website, it means you’re safe. But if you do not see a lock, you have a clear sign of an unsafe website. If in any case you visit a famous website and it does not show the lock sign, chances are that a certain malware has readdressed you to a fake page that would steal your credentials as soon as you type them in.
- Router Security
Your router is the central line of defense for your home internet connection against hackers and unwanted visitors. It manages who can and can’t access your connection which makes it a prime target for hackers.
Making sure that you use WPA2 security for your router which is the advanced security protocol and much harder for intruders to penetrate. If your router is relatively new then chances are that you already are using WPA2. But if you have an old or cheap router you should check which security protocol it implements. If it uses WPA or WEP, you should seriously think about upgrading to a better and more secure router.
- VPN Leaks
If you use VPN software, make sure that it’s not leaking information about your true location. DNS leaks through the use of VPN are not unheard of and therefore you should be on top of your game to tackle this issue head-on.
You can make sure that a VPN is hiding you through the use of IP Leak. This test will check the integrity of your VPN connection and make sure it’s secure and doesn’t leak your information.
Here’s how it work, turn your VPN off and visit any website. The service will show you all the information it can detect from your connection. Next, activate your VPN and visit the site again. It should show you details from your VPN server instead of your own. If you see your details, the verdict is an unreliable VPN that is not securing your connection properly.
- Bottom Line
Hackers out there are always looking for ways to break into your private network and the advent of new technologies only accelerates their attempts. It’s like an arms-race between warring nations and should be dealt with sophistication and care. There is no need to be overwhelmed by this since implementing simple tests mentioned in this article can make sure that your connection is safe to use.
You can easily access great firewall programs like ZoneAlarm to make sure that your online experience stays secure, and that also for free. Also, several Internet Service Providers offer free security suites with their internet plans so their users can conduct their online activity in peace. For example, if you subscribe to any of Optimum internet plans you will automatically gain access to the award-winning McAfee security software that provides you reliable and comprehensive features for a secure online experience.
Likewise, several VPN software available out there will provide you extensive security at little or no cost. An example is ExpressVPN that provides 24/7 protection at around $7 per month only. However, even after all these lines of defense have you guarded, it is important to ensure an upgraded router is in place and that you always right-click on an unknown website URL to inspect it before visiting.
If you’re diligent you’ll never have to worry about lost data.