Are You Staying Safe Online?

The internet has changed the way we live. From work-life to personal life, it’s opened us up to new opportunities, capabilities, and advantages that we previously did not have access to. Between the ability to work from home to rich business automation software to online dating applications, you can pretty much manage your entire life from your laptop or smartphone. 

The question is, are you staying safe online?

Online Dangers…Lurking

Most people think they’re safer than they truly are on the internet. Millions of internet users are totally oblivious to what’s happening online, and you might be one of them. That’s not your fault – you’ve just been lucky enough to evade these threats until now. 

What threats, you might ask? Well, here are some of the latest data:

  • 40 percent of children in grades 4-8 report connecting or chatting with strangers online. Out of these children, 53 percent have revealed their phone number to a stranger, and 15 percent have tried to meet with a stranger in real life. A shocking 11 percent actually did meet with a stranger in their home, the stranger’s home, or a public location like a mall or park.
  • 72 percent of Americans assume their online accounts are secure with basic usernames and passwords. However, there’s a new case of identity fraud every two seconds.
  • Roughly 164 million people have their data compromised each year as a result of widespread data breaches.

These are just a few statistics. If you were to spend time studying all of the different threats and issues that are happening on a large scale, you’d be shocked. The reality is that, while the internet is convenient and advantageous in many ways, it also opens us up to a number of scary threats. In order to stay protected, you must learn to make safe, proactive decisions while online. 

Stay Safe With These 5 Tips

Learning to stay safe online is a must in today’s internet-driven, a cloud-dominated world where everything from work to banking to relationships flows through the internet. Here are several tips to keep you and your family safe:

1. Use Proper Password Hygiene

One of the best things you can do is improve your password hygiene. Here are several simple tips to keep you safe:

  • Use strong passwords. The best passwords are at least 16 characters and include random combinations of letters, numbers, symbols, and both upper and lower cases.
  • Never reuse passwords for multiple accounts. If one of these passwords is compromised, it makes it easy for a hacker to access multiple accounts.
  • Always enable two-factor authentication when available. This creates an added layer of protection and prevents someone from being able to access your account with just a password.
  • Change your passwords every 90 days. Use a password tool like LastPass to safely store/remember them.
  • Use a VPN

If you spend time connecting to public Wi-Fi (like at a coffee shop, airport, hotel, etc.), you should absolutely use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN basically masks your IP address so that you’re safe and anonymous when browsing online. A good VPN typically only costs a few dollars per month and works silently in the background.

2. Protect Your Files

When storing files online, make sure you’re using a secure and encrypted cloud storage solution to prevent unwanted threat actors from accessing your private information. This allows you to store all of your files in one place without having to worry about them ending up in the wrong hands.

3. Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links

Be very careful with email. Hackers are getting extremely creative with how they use ransomware and phishing attacks. Not only can they make emails look like they’re coming from someone you know and trust, but they can mask suspicious URLs by making them look like friendly, legitimate links.

Before clicking on any link in an email, always check the sender. Make sure it’s coming from the correct email address and domain. For example, if you’re expecting an email from, make sure the email address doesn’t say something like or 

4. Turn On Privacy Settings

If you have social media accounts, turn your privacy settings all the way up. Only connections and friends should be able to view the details of your profile. This prevents people from spying on you and using personal information to initiate more clever attacks.

Enjoy Peace of Mind

The internet is always going to have risks and pitfalls. However, if you’re prepared for them, you can neutralize these threats and set yourself up for success. Start by implementing the tips highlighted above. As you become more aware of your surroundings, you may find it helpful to implement additional safety measures.