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Helpful Tips in Maintaining the Safety and Security of Your Digital Life During the Pandemic

Students and kids are learning via online education, connecting with loved ones through video conference calls, streaming online workouts: these are just a few of the common scenarios in our day-to-day routine in this “new normal” set-up brought about by Coronavirus.

Karen Cruz
Karen Cruz

Students and kids are learning via online education, connecting with loved ones through video conference calls, streaming online workouts: these are just a few of the common scenarios in our day-to-day routine in this “new normal” set-up brought about by Coronavirus.

While guidelines are gradually being lifted, we know for a fact that we cannot go back to our pre-pandemic lifestyle. The best option that we have is to learn to adapt to the new normal of lockdown life and that is by shifting to a more digital lifestyle.

Now, this might sound favorable and convenient, since the ability to do so much online is incredible, let us be reminded that it is not always a safe place. The situation where we are in is seen by cybercriminals as a good opportunity to take advantage. It is risky being too lenient and comfortable with the online world, your safety and security can be compromised without proper knowledge of how cybercriminals can pose a threat to our online routine. Here are some activities we often do online comfortably but could lead to endangerment, and some helpful tips to be smart about it.

Gathering News

The internet is the most convenient source of updates and information about what is happening around the globe. With so much information available, one should be wise on checking if the information is truthful or not. Fake news is nothing new and it cannot be avoided in the vast world of the internet. One should always be vigilant and extra careful before acting on it or sharing it with anyone. The rapid spread of fake news can confuse and slow the efforts to disseminate essential and helpful information and advice. It is recommended that each one should take the time to validate information before spreading it to anyone to avoid adding to the problem.

  • Information and news should only be gathered from validated and reputable new sites.
  • Do not believe any information passed along by word of mouth even if it came from messaging apps and social media right away. Always seek to validate the information.
  • Unless the information has been validated, do not share it with anyone or post it on your social media yet. Be responsible with the information you pass along or repost.

Online Shopping

Don’t become too overwhelmed by the deals you see. Oftentimes, these are too good to be true. So stay vigilant as it might be one of the online criminals’ traps such as shopping-related malware and phishing attacks.

  • Instead of clicking on the links in your e-mail, it is recommended to check the deal on the website by typing the URL into the browser.
  • Never save your card details to a website.
  • Come up with a complex and unique password for your online accounts.
  • For extra payment protection, instead of a debit card, use a credit card.
  • Apply patches and updates on the devices you use for shopping as soon as possible for protection.
  • When paying, remember to check for the padlock sign/HTTPS in the address bar. Check twice as this padlock means safety only if the website address is correct.

Online Streaming

Be patient in using streaming services. It can be tempting to find other sources of the content as there are so many of it available but it is always a safer choice to stick to your trusted streaming services.

  • Fake websites are everywhere and they can look just like the real thing so be more careful. Use trusted sources — services for which you have a subscription. Before downloading anything, double-check the URL format and the company name spelling.
  • Links promising early viewing of content is suspicious. To verify the authenticity of content, check with your entertainment provider.
  • Video files should not end with .exe. Always check the extension of every downloaded file.
  • Be careful when using torrents. Search the comments about the downloadable files. If there is anything unrelated to the content, it is probably malware.
  • Apply updates to your operating system and applications to protect the devices you use for streaming.
  • For payments, it is recommended to use a credit card but avoid saving the details of your card to the streaming site.
  • Set up a complex and unique password for your online accounts.

Be updated and well-informed.