A Project for Better Journalism chapter

How to be safe on the internet

Most people who live in modern society use the internet. To have access to the repository of all human knowledge is, after all, rather convenient. The price of this convenience is an unfortunate weakness. Everyone who uses the internet is susceptible to being hacked and to cybercrime of any sort. Every single user of the internet is at risk. There are, however, precautions one can take to reduce that risk, to shore up that weakness.

One of the most effective methods to make one’s system harder to hack is to install an antivirus software. Antivirus software programs prevent known viruses from infecting one’s pc. The software does this in numerous ways, depending on the software used. The most typical method is to have a bank of known viruses and scan periodically for them. There are a variety of antivirus softwares available, some costing money and some free.

Another important tactic to keep in mind is to never under any circumstances give out one’s personal information (if it can be helped). People online may ask for a name, for one’s address, or for your age. One thing to keep in mind is encryption. If a browser shows a little lock next to the URL (the address at the top of the browser) or “https” at the beginning of the url. This means information sent to this website cannot be stolen along the way. If a website does not have this, it is best not to send important information to it. Other than that, if one always closes popups they should be mostly safe on the internet.

It is important to keep in mind that in some cases major websites will be hacked. Its impossible to predict these events, but important to be on top of them. If a website a person uses to purchase things is hacked that person has to change their credit card number and alert their bank as soon as possible. As long as one keeps these in mind, browsing the web should remain a safe endeavour.