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Basic ways to stay safe from online scams in 2021

~ Polish translation by Marek Murawski

(Image via https://twitter.com/HCC_TS)

(Image via https://twitter.com/HCC_TS)

Whether it’s on Facebook or through various phishing techniques over email, cybercriminals aren’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2021. In fact, online crime is growing at an alarming rate.

The rate at which cybercrime is increasing is concerning to the authorities but so too for many people who use the internet on a daily basis. The fact cybercrime could cost over $10 trillion by 2025 makes it even more important that businesses and individuals make sure they’re adequately protected online. New methods are constantly cropping up, too, although there will always be basic precautions you can take to make a hackers job harder to pull off.

Falling victim to an online scam can happen to anyone, too. One minute you could be surfing the web looking for a birthday present or sampling an Egyptian-themed slot game like Eye of Horus, then the next you could open up an email and click a suspicious link or provide details to someone posing as customer support without a second thought. From there, hackers can access any private or personal information and conduct their crimes. It is disturbingly simple.

In order to keep cybercriminals at bay, here are some basic ways to stay safe online in 2021.

Always check the web address or URL

Cybercriminals tend to use a URL which will resemble a familiar site we all use. For example, you could be on the receiving end of an email from Facebook which appears professionally made and seems legitimate, when in actual fact, it is a scammer posing as the company in an attempt to get your personal information. Some addresses contain the address of the authentic website too, but they also include codes to reroute the traffic to a false website. Always use trusted websites and never clink links you aren’t sure about.

Check your social media privacy settings

Social media is a common platform for cybercriminals to exploit as so many people are on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. In order to make sure your social media accounts have an extra layer of protection, consider adding the appropriate privacy settings to your profile. That way, only the people you approve can access your account and outside parties simply won’t be able to. Alongside this, never share personal or private information online as internet scammers regularly trawl the net in search of these types of details.

Use a password manager

(Image via https://twitter.com/attcyber)(Image via https://twitter.com/attcyber)

To come up with the best and hardest to crack passwords, consider using a password manager. Password managers produce tough passwords for users while also recommending ways in which you can stay safe online, perhaps by changing your password every few weeks. Always make sure you use different passwords for different accounts, too.

Consider using a VPN

Using a VPN network not only gives you an additional layer of security when surfing the web at home but even more so when you’re out and about and using a public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is the ideal opportunity for hackers to gain access to a number of different devices, making VPN networks the ideal blanket for users. VPN networks are easy to install and are a nightmare for many cybercriminals.

Make sure you’re well protected

Whether you’re using your laptop or your smartphone, always make sure your security is up to date on the device and all your software is working. Consider adding spam filters, anti-virus software, and firewalls for even more protection also. Alongside this, always scan your devices for any security threats using a reputable anti-virus programme, too.

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About This Blog...

I've been writing about computers, software, Internet and the rest of technology since 1992, including a 17 year (1995-2012) stint as 'High Tech Office' columnist for Business in Vancouver. This blog includes thoughts on technology, society, and anything else that might interest me. Comments, emailed to alan@zisman.ca are welcome - and may be published in whole or part. You can follow me on Facebook for notice of new blog postings.
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