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7 Ways to Securely Browse the Internet

The internet is such a central part of our lives now, with all of our correspondence via email and the ability to purchase anything we need online. However, the ease that the internet has introduce to our lives does not come without a cost, which is our privacy. Here are a few simple tips that could make it a lot harder for servers or individuals to access your information, and keep your life private from the eyes of the internet.

1. When Checking Email, Use The Browser's 'Incognito' Mode


When you browse the web, information is stored on your browsing history, images, videos and text in a folder called a 'cache'. The cache stores all the information about a certain webpage so that it loads faster the next time you visit.

By using the 'incognito' mode (available on Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox), the information about your searching habits isn't stored and every time you visit the website will be the first time. While there are certain upsides of allowing the web to suit itself to you, there may be information, like your credit card or banking details, that you don't want the website to remember. This is the time to switch on the 'incognito' function in your browser's tools.

2. Use a Passcode on Your Computer and Smartphone


It is a good idea to secure your devices with a password. Although you may find this a nuance, especially if you struggle to remember passwords, it is important that only you have access to your devices just in case they end up in the wrong hands. If your computer or phone has a password, no one but you can access the information, even if you lose it. So think of a simple password that will be easy enough for you to remember and use it on your computer and phone. This simple step could save you a lot of worry and headaches in the case that your device is lost or stolen.

3. Know What People Are Saying About You Online

If you are worried about what others may be writing about you online, or want to look out for a child or friend on the web, you can use a function called Google alert. By adding a Google alert to your name, every time something is said about you online, you will be sent an alert to your inbox. It is simple to set up by going to http://www.google.com/alerts. There, type in your name or any variations of it, making sure that you put quotations around your name so the search engine knows exactly what to look for.

4. Get in the Habit of Signing Out

When you are using a social media site, or just your email account, it is important that you remember to sign out after you've finished using it. This will ensure that no one else can enter your account when you leave the site or that your settings are not saved on the computer for the next user. This is an especially important step for those that share their computer with others or leave their computer at work or home. If you are worried about forgetting your passwords and usernames, write them down in a safe and memorable place.

5. Check Your Privacy Settings

While they may be a bit confusing, it is important to check the privacy settings of your social media and email accounts to make sure that you aren't sharing private information. This is important because many of these sites change their privacy settings regularly (sometimes without notifying you). If there is a setting you don't understand, make sure to look it up. You should know about all the privacy options available so you can apply them when you need it most.

6. Use Complex Passwords


Probably the most important tip on the list. Believe it or not, if someone gets a hold of your username, it may be easier than you think to get a hold of your password. Make sure that your passwords are different for every site and that they aren't too simple, like '1234'. Instead, use a name that only you would know (like the name of your dog or the street you were born on) along with some numbers that are significant to you.

7. Clear Browser History

As mentioned above, when you browse the web, information about the sites you visited is saved in a 'cache', or file of all your internet information. If you share a computer with your family or use it in a public place (including your work), make sure you clean up your browser history each month to make sure that no one can see what you see on the web. This can include your credit card information, identification numbers and so on, so this is an important step not to forget if you are concerned about internet security.

While the internet is an amazing tool and fun opportunity to expand your knowledge, it is important to be aware of how secure your information is online while you browse.

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