The smallest of tasks in our daily lives are continuously depending on the internet; from switching on our lights, closing and opening our gates and doors, or even switching on your cooker to start the process of cooking a meal before you get home from work.

Those are the simple things, not to mention the more complex ones, that depend on apps connected to our devices. Unfortunately, with all the benefits comes the flipside. While doing our various tasks over the internet, we expose ourselves to the constant threats that are lurking in the shadows of the World Wide Web. We need to have protection from malicious people and software that are out to take our information and system control for personal gain. With time, almost everything will depend on the internet, and we need to guard ourselves to continue enjoying this great technological innovation safely. Here are some tips to help you maximize your online security.

1. Passwords
Passwords are the key to everything you do on the internet. Security experts have suggested for years that this is the first and last line of defense. Account owners need to practice what is known as password “hygiene.” This entails changing your password regularly to one that is not easy to guess; forget about your date of birth and your pets’ names, as these are the most commonly used passwords and do not provide legitimate protection. Ideally, it should be something that cannot be guessed at all. In case you are forgetful, the use of password managers such as LastPass, KeePass, or 1Password can help you generate and store strong, unique passwords without having to memorize them.

2. Information sharing
It is wise not to give out personal information online, especially at one go. If you have to send information such as your full name, credit card number, or social security number on channels like e-mail, make sure there is an end-to-end encryption on the service. This is not always readily available on free services, but you can use instant messaging services like Wickrto send the message, or PGP encrypt your emails. Another measure you should take is to spread out the information and not send it all in one message whenever possible.

3. Use HTTPS Connections
There are many points during the sending of information on the internet that it can be intercepted. To avoid this, you should use HTTPS connections to websites that collect user information whenever it is available. If you are in doubt of the site’s security, you can look for a green padlock that is situated on your browser’s address bar for HTTPS. When you click on it, you can see the certificate that ensures all the information that you send will be encrypted on your device as it passes over your connection. Browsers have started to attempt HTTPS connections by default, but in the case yours doesn’t, there are several browser extensions available that will perform the same function.

4. Phishing mail
As you go about your daily internet activities, never click on links or open any attachments that you are not sure of or that are from unknown parties. Promises of free products should be treated with the suspicion they deserve, emails that come with terrible grammar should be avoided, and so should emailsthat appear urgent but are from an unknown party. For example, if what seemingly looks like your bank asking you to click on a certain link or your account will be closed, do not comply; you would be better off picking up the phone and call to confirm. The refusal to click on those suspicious links mitigates unnecessary risks to your personal information.

To stay up-to-date with some of the latest phishing and malware schemes, I encourage you to follow security news sites such as

5. PIN
Mobile devices such as our phones and laptops contain enormous amounts of personal and critical information and should be guarded with PINs in addition to passwords whenever possible. It is advisable to put PIN numbers on all mobile devices. If you think you will forget, technology has advanced to the point where we can even use biometrics to secure our devices. Most mobile devices will authorize lock outs after a series of unsuccessful attempts, locking out your phone from would-be criminals.

6. Browsing
There are ways that you can browse with confidentiality and also make your IP address anonymous. One such step is to make sure that the web address you use is always HTTPS with an SSL(Secure Socket Layer) connection. Ad blocking plugins are also useful, as they can prevent third-party advertising services from collecting information on your browsing habits. Furthermore, for the more security conscious, it is advisable to regularly clear your browsing history, cookies, and downloaded files on a regular basis. Browsers like FireFox, Chrome, and Opera have plugins to facilitate these protections if you are not comfortable adjusting your browser’s security settings.

7. Excess permissions
When downloading an app or software, be cautious when it requests permission to access other features of your phone or computer. For example, does the app really need to access your contacts or messages? If the answer is no, do not authorize it. On PCs, be sure to monitor the software’s install directory and configure your settings to notify you when applications attempt to modify your system.

Something users need to remember is always to use your common sense, as it is one of the best lines of protection you will ever have. If you feel something is not right, chances are that it isn’t.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Karen cole. I am working as freelance writer from last 4 years. I love to help people by sharing informative content in Technology and Health Niche.