I’m not particularly tech-savvy, but I do spend a lot of time on the internet. I think everyone does, these days. But it freaks me out a little bit that I’m always on the internet and always giving out my personal information–my name, my credit card information, etc. I don’t like that when other people use my computer, my browser suggests the sites I visit. And I worry about hackers and viruses and other dangers getting into my computer and into my files. How can I be safer on the internet?
It’s hard to get by without the internet. These days, we use the internet for everything from applying to jobs to getting dates! So even the less tech-savvy among us are going to spend a lot of time on the internet. The average American spends over 6 hours online every day!
This does indeed come with some dangers. When we’re out on the internet, we are not totally protected from prying eyes and malicious programs. But there are a few things you can do to protect your privacy and enhance your security.
For starters, you can use the private browsing modes available on most browsers. It’s very important to note that these modes do not block malicious software–but there are some features of private browsing that might appeal to you. Private browsing will keep your browser from accepting cookies, and will mean that you are less able to be tracked by advertisers. And your browser won’t store the addresses of the sites you visit in private browsing mode, and won’t try to suggest those sites later on.
You can also mask your identity when you’re online with the use of a VPN, or virtual private network. The best VPN services offer you the ability to appear as if you’re in some other part of the country or the world, masking the true location and identity of your computer.
Of course, no matter how careful you are, you may someday encounter malware and viruses. So it’s important to keep antivirus software on your computer, too. Keep your antivirus program up-to-date and run it regularly to ensure that your computer doesn’t get overwhelmed with malware.
There’s no avoiding the internet in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a scary place. If you take basic steps to protect your computer and your data, you should be able to browse safely!
“The Internet…Where else can I be anonymously anyone and yet, have no anonymity at all?” — Susan Schussler