There are people [and machines that people set up] that are constantly scanning the internet, trying to see if there are holes or unlocked doors that they can get in.
This is really no different than real life – after all, we lock our cars because there are people who will walk through parking lots, trying doors to see what they can open and steal.
Online reflects real life in that sense – there are options and features that are cool or easy to use, and people to meet . There are also options and features that can be MISused [debit card fraud, to mention one thing.]
So “scared” isn’t a practical approach to online. “Cautious” and “Aware” are better approaches. Just like you lock your house and car – and maybe even purchase a security system – with the idea that it won’t prevent ALL thieves, but will hopefully prevent MOST….. take the same approach with online safety.
Here are some common sense practical things you can do to stay safe online. Sadly, we cannot guarantee you won’t get AGGRAVATED online…. that’s a whole ‘nother issue.
- Don’t reuse passwords. Seriously – just don’t. The criminals are cross-referencing information they steal from all these companies.
- Avoid using dictionary words in your passwords. ANY dictionary words. Remove the consonants, abbreviate, SOMETHING….. just don’t use words that are in any dictionary.
- Don’t give out your password to ANYONE. Even tech support won’t ask you for it.
- Don’t give out your social security number or any critical piece of information like that to anyone who calls you. Those threats that “your account will be shut down” or “you are going to be arrested if you don’t do this” are bogus. Report them.
- When a computer goes insane, it is NOT automatically a “virus”. Sometimes the computer hamsters just go out to lunch. When in doubt, shut the thing down, go get a nice beverage, and start it back up.
- Make SURE those apps your are downloading from the App store are legit. There are MANY stories online of “free apps” that actually did nefarious things – everything from bitcoin mining to swiping your entire phone contact list and passwords to eavesdropping. Note that Android devices are more susceptible, but IOS devices can also be messed with.