In today’s digital world, we are constantly connected to the internet, whether it’s for work, entertainment, or staying in touch with loved ones.
However, this increased dependence on technology comes with its own set of risks, and online safety has become a very important topic in recent years.
By taking care of themselves physically, people can prevent them from falling prey to cyberbullying, scams, and other harmful situations that could occur if they were not careful.
Online security is one way to keep yourself safe online, but how does one go about building an online safety habit?
The most obvious way would obviously be getting started by making sure you have some form of security awareness training in place, but there are many more steps that need to be taken by users as well.
As part of my master’s program at Purdue University’s School of Business in management, I had the opportunity to explore various topics related to online safety on campus in order to gain a deeper understanding of this essential issue.
What is Online Safety?
There are two main types of online safety: Preventive and Corrective.
Preventive web security measures focus on preventing any unwanted behavior occurring on your computer and devices.
This includes things like software updates, changing passwords regularly, and updating antivirus programs.
Corrective methods include things such as limiting cookies, installing firewalls, using strong encryption, and so forth.
Both prevention and correction methods focus on helping protect your data.
On top of that, both types of precautions ensure that you do not fall into harmful circumstances due to a lack of protection. They also help make the Internet and apps more accessible to everyone who wishes to use them.
Why do we Need Online Safety?
Online security has become of great importance since the invention of computers and the first use of the World Wide Web in the 80s.
Today, we rely heavily on the internet and mobile apps to stay connected to job and school accounts, family members, and friends, just to name a few.
Without proper online safety, these connections can be exploited to invade your privacy, steal personal information, or cause physical harm to others.
These threats have made security and privacy in the tech industry a significant concern for businesses and consumers alike.
How to Build your Online Safety Online
The best thing you can do first to begin with online safety is learn what your rights are when it comes to securing your account.
There are different ways in which individuals can take action to secure their accounts.
For instance, students can choose to change their passwords on accounts with major employers, while business owners can turn off auto-logins for certain customers or require the user to provide additional identification before logging in.
You should also know about access controls and where some safeguards are available. Some of these options are found built into browsers like Safari, Chrome (which I will discuss later), Microsoft Edge, Firefox, etc.
Others can be accessed via applications that you might install such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, or Brave/Tunnel Browser.
Then with those basic knowledge under your belt, you should then consider adding something else to your online security routine.
One good option here is using a reputable VPN service, although some services have been known to offer illegal activities such as phishing and malware sharing.
Another option is to use anti-phishing tools to scan your site and block potentially dangerous links.
Finally, once you have all of your systems in place, you can finally start thinking about online safety for yourself.
Make sure you download browser extensions and apps for free, especially during times of peak hours or after unusual activity takes place. Additionally, I also recommend downloading AVG AntiVirus software installed on every device you use at home and office. AntiVirus products can be used at schools, offices, public places, and on laptops to help limit the impact of viruses and spyware on computer networks.
If you don’t already have a subscription something like AVG, you can check out our list of the best free antivirus programs of 2023 and see what works best for you.