Online safety should be one of your highest priorities. Whether it’s knowing who you’re giving your financial details to or just steering clear of less scrupulous websites, online safety is paramount, but many people neglect this important element of their online experience. This can lead to financial fraud and identity theft, not to mention great personal stress and anxiety, so avoiding falling into some of the most common online security pitfalls is incredibly important. Here are 10 tools you can use to be safer online.
1. A finance app
You might not think that a finance app is particularly important for online safety, but this would be a mistake. Not only can you use finance apps to check up on your personal loans and quick loans, seeing when repayments are due and organising your finances accordingly, but you can also use them to be safer online. If an irregularity arises with your money, you’ll be able to see it quickly and easily by using finance apps like Emma or Money Dashboard, so download and install one today – you won’t regret it.
2. An antivirus tool
Naturally, a great antivirus tool is important when you’re online. Companies like Norton, Kaspersky, and AVG make great antivirus software, and Bitdefender is also well-regarded by many people.
Windows Defender, the default antivirus software built into Windows, is also a solid choice, although you may want something more robust if you’re planning to venture into the shadier and less well-protected corners of the internet. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you have an antivirus solution.
3. A malware tool
By far the most popular malware tool online right now is Malwarebytes, which is free to use (although it does have premium features you can only access if you pay a little extra).
Malwarebytes will scan your system to determine whether or not malware has snuck onto your PC and will action it accordingly. “Malware” is a broad term that simply refers to malicious software, so you can see why having a program that scopes out and prevents malware damage is important.
4. An ad blocker
While most online ads are harmless, some certainly aren’t. In recent years, the number of sponsored ads that mimic news stories, existing websites, or even financial verification checks has sharply increased, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected from these ads.
Ad blockers do a great job of ensuring that you won’t see ads you haven’t consented to see, allowing you to retain a greater degree of control over your online browsing experience.
5. A good VPN
By using a VPN, you’ll be able to dummy your location to somewhere else in the world, ensuring that your actions can’t be traced back to your original IP. There are lots of good VPN tools out there, so pick the one that appeals most to you based on aesthetic and functionality.
VPNs give you the chance to browse websites and online facilities in other locations without fear of reprisal, so if you spend a lot of time looking through other countries’ Netflix catalogues, VPNs are essential.
6. A password manager
It’s easy to forget all of the passwords we generate on a daily basis. Password management software will help you to keep all of your passwords organised and catalogued so that you don’t need to constantly remember a whole host of passwords.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably default to the same password choices over and over again, which isn’t a great thing in terms of online security, so most password managers can also generate strong passwords for you.
7. A data breach tool
Data breaches are sadly becoming more and more common in the cybersecurity world. The term refers to when companies are hacked by malicious entities who either want to steal data for ransom or simply want to cause chaos.
Your information may have been part of a data breach, and you can check online whether or not this is the case. Many sites will scan your information to make sure it hasn’t been compromised in data breaches, so make sure to do this on a regular basis.
8. Two-factor authentication
This is a tool that many websites and services now use, and it’s invaluable in terms of protecting your information. It may be more annoying to use two-factor authentication than to simply log into your favourite sites without it, but trust us when we say that this added layer of security can make a huge difference.
Two-factor authentication refers to an extra login step wherein you’ll use an additional piece of information to confirm your identity, or potentially even use an authentication app on your smartphone.
9. A good email client
These days, pretty much any email client or service will be able to successfully sort spam and junk mail into the appropriate folders. However, some email providers still aren’t capable of doing this, so make sure that you go with a trusted mainstream email provider like Gmail or Outlook.
This will ensure that you won’t have to worry about clicking suspicious links in spam emails, no matter how legitimate they may look (and they can sometimes look very legitimate indeed).
10. A reliable browser
Some browsers are designed specifically for privacy. Browsers like Brave and Firefox are great options if you want to make sure your data is being protected from online snooping, while more popular options like Google Chrome might not be for you if this is a high priority.
Make sure that you’re using the browser that best corresponds to the way you want to browse the web, because you could end up on the wrong side of a data breach otherwise.