How healthy are your internet browsing practices?

The internet has certainly made your life simpler but besides the act of browsing itself, do you ever focus on how you browse? Are you doing it safely?

Today, cyber security is equally imperative as being able to connect, with even the best in the business were compromising their safety. Cyber crime is most definitely a growing concern.

Researchers found that in 2015, security incidents rose by 38 percent, the biggest increase in the prior 12 years since the PwC study started.

Anyone from individuals to big corporations is at a risk of cyber attack. If you haven’t established healthier browsing practices yet, it’s vital that you make it your focal point now.

Start by considering these five points to assess your internet browsing practices.

1. Do You Maintain Caution While Defining Your Passwords?

Despite the many safe password practices internet users can adopt, many people still aren’t using them, and that’s a problem. Cyber security threats are commonly linked to ordinary passwords.

For example, hackers might maliciously attempt to log in to your account by guessing your password. If you’re using something common like password123, it may only take a few attempts to get into your account.

Another common password mistake is to use the same one across multiple accounts. If hackers get hold of the data files of one company, they can and will maliciously test the same username and password combinations on other accounts that hold more sensitive data.

Here are some tips for creating strong passwords –

  • Create a unique password for each of your accounts, especially the important ones like your bank account and email.
  • Use a variety of numbers, letters, and symbols. If the site allows, use both capital and lower-case letters.
  • Avoid common passwords or anything that contains your username or personal information that would be easy to guess.
  • Secure your password. Don’t leave your passwords written down next to your computer where anyone can find them.
  • As and when you wish to change them, avoid reusing your old passwords or simply adding extra characters to the end.
  • If you’ve established a recovery email or phone number for your account in case you forget your password, make sure that information remains up-to-date and secure.

2. Do You Use a VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a great way to add extra security to your internet browsing. This is especially true if you frequently access the Internet over public networks.

Public Wi-Fi is a hot target for cybercriminals because it’s easy to set up attacks and catch internet users off guard. Using a VPN, however, greatly mitigates your risk of falling victim to these attacks.

VPNs can be useful over public Wi-Fi by encrypting your data and keeping your information safe from prying eyes.

That said, this technique is also useful when accessing the web on your own networks, such as your home Wi-Fi because it hides your IP address to keep other organisations, such as ad networks, from tracking your internet activity.

A virtual private network routes your data first through the network’s servers. These types of networks are commonly used with large corporations that have set up their own networks.

However, smaller businesses and individuals can purchase monthly subscriptions to other good VPN services to reap the same benefits. These monthly subscriptions can be as low as £6 per month or less.

3. Do You Update Your Software Regularly?

Another way cybercriminals can get hold of your files is through outdated software. New updates to your browser, operating system, anti-virus, and more are designed to patch up security holes and keep hackers at bay.

Hackers can break into older versions once those holes are identified and steal your information, which means you’re leaving yourself vulnerable if you skip updates.

In some cases, old hardware can no longer support new software updates or releases. If your device is too old to accommodate these updates, it may be time to upgrade your phone or computer to ensure you continue to browse the web securely.

4. Do You Seek Out and Download Free Content?

Common cyber attacks involve the use of viruses and malware. One way these files get onto your computer is by luring you in under false pretenses.

In many cases, these are in the form of free books, movies, music downloads or even pics and documents. Sometimes, you may not receive the file you’re looking for at all and will just be downloading the malicious one.

Other times, the file you wanted is available, but it comes with the malicious file attached. In most cases, these free downloads are pirated and illegal.

It’s best to avoid free content altogether unless it’s available on a reputable website as part of a subscription model or promotion.

5. Do You Check for SSL Encryption?

Before entering any information on a website, be sure the site address starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP. The “s” indicates that the site is employing SSL encryption.

This means that the data sent to and from the website is secure in transit. That makes it harder for hackers to intercept it and use the data against you. This is especially important when entering sensitive information like credit card numbers.

Staying safe online isn’t always a sure thing, but adopting healthy browsing practices can help reduce your risk of a cyber attack. provides comparisons between VPN (Virtual Private Network) providers


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