How to safely navigate the Internet

Access to the World Wide Web has never been easier, and will only improve as technology evolves and increases its reach to people who have never used it.

With the Internet and the infrastructure around it expanding, so do threats to users on a daily basis. “Surfing the web” comes with its benefits and drawbacks, and here’s a few ways you can protect yourself online:

BEWARE WHAT YOU CLICK

Yes, the headline above is in all capital letters because it’s probably one of the most important things you should remember when online. Spammers and phishing websites do everything they can to try and trick you into clicking on a link you may *think* is legitimate, but is far from it. A good method to avoid being played is to hover over a hyperlink to see where the destination leads. If the hyperlink in the URL doesn’t match what the words in the text say, avoid click on it at all costs.

Don’t save passwords in browsers, ever.

Easy to log in, easy to swipe. Make sure you have to manually insert you usernames and passwords when entering your information online. Make it that much harder for an identity thief to swipe your information.

Make sure purchases are secured

When getting ready to purchase something online, make sure the hyperlink has an “https” at the very front of it. This helps ensure the connections you have with the site are secure and private. Making an online payment without this at the beginning of a hyperlink could leave your personal information vulnerable to those who are looking to steal it.

Clear out your browsing history, cookies and cache after you use a browser

Back when the Internet was still in its “early” stages, not erasing your browsing history or “cookies” was important because Internet speeds were relatively slow in the days of dial-up modems. With today’s modern cable/broadband speeds, that’s less of an issue than it was then. Clearing your browser helps clear space in your disk drive and helps your computer operate more smoothly. For more information on how to clear your browser’s surfing information, visit this AOL help article.