In our Internet Safety 101 post we gave you some tips to polish up your Internet safety skills. We also asked what you do to stay safe online and received a host of helpful comments. We’ve summarized your best tips below in what we’re calling “Internet Safety 202.”
How You Get Online
Most of us use the Internet everyday on multiple devices. And almost all of us will use an Internet browser to get online. But what browser should you use?
- Mozilla Firefox is preferred by many of our customers. They recently added a feature that lets you know when you’re visiting a website that has been breached in the last year. This lets you know if it’s safe (or not!) to enter your personal data on the page.
- Others prefer Google Chrome for browsing. Chrome now allows you to sync your Google accounts, so you can access all your favourite bookmarks and passwords from any device. Be sure to update what information is synced and confirm your data is encrypted so it’s protected. You can learn more here.
- What browser is your go-to?
FixMeTip: No matter what browser you’re using, it’s a good idea to have AdBlock installed. This can help avoid tracking and malware by blocking intrusive ads and reduces the risk of ‘malvertising’ infections. Click here for other ways to optimize your browser for online safety.
How You Connect to the Internet
- It shields your browsing from hackers and surveillance
- It has Quick Connect buttons that make turning it on a breeze
- Their reliable, military-grade encryption is one we can trust
- It’s super fast wherever we are
- They offer 24/7 assistance from a friendly support team like ours
One of readers asked do “VPNs protect cell phone calls in public from eaves dropping or is strictly a security measure for online browsing?” Great question! A VPN will encrypt your Wi-Fi calls, like the ones you make through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. However, calls made through your cell carrier are not encrypted.
Another person wanted to know if “NordVPN is connected to their router, do they still need to download NordVPN on the individual laptops and cell phones?” With NordVPN on your router every device connected to your router will have its traffic sent through the encrypted tunnel. Save on NordVPN when you try it today!
How You Search Online
A FixMeStick reader suggested using “the incognito window to watch YouTube and surf the web.” This is a great tip! Incognito is specific to Chrome and allows you to browse privately. On Firefox and Safari it’s called Private Browsing, Edge calls it an InPrivate Window.
Private browsing means your browser won’t save:
- Your browsing history
- Cookies and site data
- Information entered in forms
However, downloads and bookmarks will still be saved and your activity might still be visible to websites you visit, employers and your Internet Service Provider. In other words, what you do in Incognito or Private Browsing isn’t stored on your computer but your browser still knows what you’re doing.
Private browsing can be very helpful when you’re using another person’s computer or searching for a birthday present on a shared device. Just know there are limitations.
Another reader mentioned they use duckduckgo.com as their search engine. DuckDuckGo prides themselves on privacy, stating:
- They don’t store your personal information
- They don’t follow you around with ads
- They don’t track you in or out of private browsing mode
Chrome recently made DuckDuckGo a default search engine option. To change your default search engine in Chrome, go to Settings > Manage Search Engines. A spokesperson for DuckDuckGo stated “we’re glad that Google has recognized the importance of offering consumers a private search option.”
How You Save Your Passwords
On average, most people have 107 online accounts registered to one email address. In the US and UK, this number rose to 130 and 118 respectively. That’s a lot of passwords. You have a few options when it comes to remembering all those passwords:
- Built in feature to remember your password on your browser
- Password manager, like Dashlane
- Paper and pencil
One of our readers asked why we “suggest a password manager as well as the built-in option on your browser?” Well, we want to give you options. A password manager is great because they don’t store your master password on their servers, only locally on your device. But most password managers will cost you. If you have a lot of devices, having your password manager sync your passwords across device can be worthwhile.
The built-in feature on your browser is good, convenient, and comes with your browser. But if you share this computer or leave it unlocked, anyone can access your accounts. Two factor authentication is a great way to make your accounts more secure if you’re using the built in browser storage, that way a second code is needed to get into your account.
One of our readers suggested trying to remember to log out of sites when you leave them. This is a great suggestion!