With data breaches occurring all the time, you are never really truly safe on the Internet. This is true whether you are on a home network, at the office or using a local coffee shop. Since there are no full proof methods, you will, at minimum, want to take the time to understand Internet security. Luckily, if you are wise with your approach, you can avoid the most common issues many face. With this in mind, here are three simple and straightforward tips for safer internet browsing.

internet browsingCheck for secure site: For starters, when you land on a page, verify that it has basic security. When landing on your email or other page, you will notice the page URL is https instead of http. This first line of defense is a big one as you will send your information over a secure network. If it’s not a secure page, you are going to deal with one of two problems. In many cases, when encountering a non-https page, you are actually on a fake site created by hackers. On the other hand, if it’s a real page but not secure, you are on your way to losing your valuable information to a hacker. If this is the case, it would be wise to find another bank or provider. If it’s not viable, at minimum, do your banking over the phone or in-person. Remember, with this first line of defense, you can access the website without fear.

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Be smart with passwords: Now, if you are like most people, you have dozens of accounts ranging from forums to credit cards. For this reason, plenty of busy and hardworking people don’t take the time to create unique usernames and passwords. All-too-often, this is a serious problem once someone discovers one of your passwords. To save yourself trouble, you will need to create unique passwords that are nearly impossible to guess. At the same time, don’t make an Excel sheet of your passwords. Otherwise, with one break-in or breach, someone can access all your important login information. Simply put, if you take the time to create decent passwords and save them on a piece of paper, you will save yourself plenty of trouble in the future.

Anti-virus and firewall: Whether you are on your home router or at a local coffee shop, you are vulnerable while online. To avoid most issues related to hacking, you will want to use the latest and most up-to-date anti-virus and firewall software. This is true whether you use Linux, Windows or Mac. Remember, with this high-tech approach, plenty of hackers will log into your computer, watch every move then profit off the information. Fortunately, with an updated firewall, you won’t worry too much about this aspect.

With these simple, yet vital tips, you can protect your good name and avoid having your identity stolen. Since it only takes a few minutes to browse the Internet safely, you will not struggle to implement these ideas in your day-to-day life. If you don’t do this, you are one mistake away from seeing your identity stolen and your life turned upside down.