6 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself Online

Some like to equate the internet with the Wild West. Instead of the fastest hand in the draw, you have cursors, there’s excitement around every corner without the danger of being lassoed, and there’s even online gambling. This is a fun way to look at the internet as a new frontier to explore, but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games.

Just like the Wild West, there are threats at every turn that you need to be prepared for. This means understanding how to protect yourself online and how to properly practice cybersecurity. Here are 6 easy ways to keep safe while browsing the web.

1. Use a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a way to encrypt your connection on the internet, so people can’t trace your IP address and connections. As mentioned on this site, there are plenty of VPN services that allow for safe browsing. Some offer free memberships, but you often get less download bandwidth and fewer features. The paid VPN status gives you a lot of options, and often for a reasonable price. Be sure to look out for promo codes or free trials for popular VPN services.  All in all, using a VPN will allow for more anonymous web usage, so you can feel safer.

2. Use Antivirus Software

Your computer should come with antivirus software, but it’s not uncommon to ditch the default program for one that meets your needs. Just like a VPN, finding the right antivirus comes down to looking for key features. These include threat detection warnings and containment, malware deletion software, password protection and encryption functions, and many more. There are a lot of good, free software options, but it’s not a bad idea to consider paying for one to get the full protection plan.

3. Install an Adblocker

Many viruses and scams online originate from ads, pop-ups, and clickware. These are easily spotted, but they can be overpowering and lead you to click on something you wish you hadn’t, so you need help. An ad blocker installed into your browser, in the form of an extension, will give you the much-needed protection that will stop these pesky ads from getting in your face and making you dread going to an unprotected website.

4. Know the Signs of Online Scams

There are plenty of scammers and online tricks that are pulled these days, so it’s valuable to know some information and what to look for. Email scams are common, and you can get bombarded with offers that seem too good to be true, which they usually are. Phishing is also a big scam to know about, which attempts to lure out information. Never enter personal info that seems too much to ask for or any kind of financial information unless from a verified source, like a payment processor on a legitimate eCommerce site. Knowing the signs of a scam is a good way to ensure you don’t get caught up in one.

5. Make Stronger Passwords

Your password might be compromised not for the fact that people know it, but for the fact that people can realistically guess it. Passwords are not a suitable defense against trained cyber threats, it’s just too easy of a password. You can actually see the list of most used passwords, and they’re all painfully shallow in terms of protection. Your passwords, for everything, should be long, include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to ensure that it’s harder to crack. Another piece of advice would be to use 2FA (two-factor authentication) as well, which uses generated codes or bio-scans (fingerprint, retina scan) to enhance the protection even further.

6. Share Less Personal Information

When using the internet, especially social media, you need to remember that most, if not all of the stuff you post is going to be on there forever. This means limiting how much you post in the way of your personal information. You might shrug it off now, but the more you post could give people better clues to your identity or other sensitive information. Limit how much you post and be cautious of what you do post so that you’re not making yourself an easy target.

Being safe on the internet isn’t as hard as being safe in the Wild West. You don’t need to protect against rattlesnakes, but a hack or attack from an online scam can be just as damaging. Using these 6 easy ways to protect yourself online, you can enjoy your time on the web in peace.


How VPNs Make Your Online Shopping Experience Better

Safety and security are the top priorities of online service users, whether it’s accessing the internet, watching video streams, or even online shopping. Online shopping is particularly a hot topic these days since more people are preferring this method of buying and ordering things. The digitalization of transactions involving money and cryptocurrencies has made shopping and purchasing more convenient. Still, with this convenience lurks the dangers of prying eyes and threats that can make us think twice about shopping online. When it comes to internet security, even in online shopping, having a VPN is a good protective measure.

Here, we will discuss how VPNs can make your online shopping experience better than before.

What are VPNs and Why Do You Need Them?

Technically, VPNs or virtual private networks protect data that comes to and from your computer or device by encrypting the information. This is done by routing the device’s internet connection to the private servers of the VPN rather than the internet service provider (ISP). Think of it as making your internet connection take a detour through a tunnel. Instead of the information passing to and from an open superhighway, it is kept safe from disruption, hacking, surveillance, and meddling by outside entities. How does this figure in online shopping? There are a lot of benefits that can be derived from using a VPN in doing online transactions.

Secure Transactions

Online shopping involves disclosing sensitive information before or during your purchase. This is not just limited to bank information but also your social security information, home address, work address, and any other information that malicious entities can use. Going back to VPN’s encryption capabilities, the sensitive data you are sending for your purchase is encrypted and bypasses your internet service provider to ensure that there will be no unauthorized access to your personal information. It is particularly useful if you are traveling and you are using a public network or WiFi connection. This connection is very risky as it is vulnerable to attacks from outside entities.
Your VPN can help you avoid that risk. The same protection applies for shopping online for the first time, as not all online shopping sites have the same security measures or are using secure connections themselves.

Having Access to Shopping Sites Abroad

Traveling abroad doesn’t only bring opportunities for fun and new experience, it also opens the opportunity for finding great bargains and shopping. While shopping in brick-and-mortar establishments isn’t that inconvenient, online shopping sites in most foreign countries are geo-restricted, meaning only those that have IP addresses within a particular country can have access to the sites. Since your device carries a unique IP address from its home location, you are most likely blocked from accessing online shopping sites from the country or branches of your favorite online shop that are found in the country.

With the VPN masking your IP address and using the IP address from their servers in the country you are visiting or from some whitelisted country IP address, you can gain access to online shops and make purchases securely without fear of being restricted.
Unhindered Access Social Media Discount

Traveling abroad can also mean that you may have limited or even restricted access to various social media platforms. Since many online shops and brands market and advertise through social media, you may be left out on special deals and promos if you can’t access your social media account while you’re away on vacation. Your VPN can allow you to retain your regular access to the contents back at home even if you are using a public network in a foreign country.

Access to Better Shopping Deals

Having the capability to rummage through different online shops from different countries can allow you to discover that some brands or products are discounted only in specific regions. You can then avail of these discounts by using a virtual network address from that particular region. Also, you will be able to uncover cases of differential pricing from country to country, where the same quality or quantity of a product is sold at varying prices in different countries. This usually happens when imported goods are sold at cheaper prices from the country of origin. Also, countries that are outsourcing the manufacturing of their products on foreign third-world countries usually sell the finished goods at a higher price.

However, local online shopping sites from the outsourced countries sell the same goods but at an incredibly lower price, and the total price including shipping is still lower than the price at your own local store.

Save Money on Airfare

One of the lesser-known benefits of VPN is the savings it can provide for your online flight ticket purchase. Revisiting the regional discounts we discussed earlier, airfare rates follow the same convention, which means they can be cheaper for some regions than others. By doing some research through the internet, you can compare the same kind of tickets sold from your own country and from the countries that serve international flights. You’ll usually discover the price difference between your own local ticket outlets and online ticket outlets of other countries by using VPN to check prices from a local perspective.

International airlines that have their hubs in a foreign country can have various discounts on their airfare, which could further lower the plane ticket price. By using a VPN network from the country with a discounted price, you can book international flights at a lower price online.

Save Money on Hotel Reservations

International shopping and travel can be made smoother by using VPN services. Finding hotel deals from foreign countries can be a breeze if your device can bypass geo-restricted prices and discounts. Having the best possible flight, accommodation, and shopping on foreign soil is the ultimate shopping experience that you can have.

Savings, no matter how small, is an important factor when it comes shopping in land-based or online stores. Your VPN doesn’t only protect your private information, it also helps you save on your purchases by allowing you to check international online shops or branches, avoid international price discrimination and use it to your advantage and being able to access social media platforms for discounts and promos. Your online shopping experience will definitely be better when you have a VPN.