Key Tips On Staying Safe When Searching On The Internet by Andrew Johnson


The Internet is a very powerful technological advancement that allows us to accomplish things that weren’t possible before. For instance, you can search online for questions to problems you might face, and you immediately get answers. In addition, you can quickly and easily communicate with other people if you want to.

Although the Internet gives you multiple capabilities, it still has its setbacks. Everybody is prone to data breaches, phishing, and other cybersecurity threats. That why getting information on how to protect yourself online from sites such as is important. In addition, you can keep the following points in mind to stay safe when searching online:

1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Some browsers, such as Chrome, allow you to link your email address to the platform to gather and save information regarding your searches. Enabling two-factor authentication or two-step verification on your email address and other accounts can help add an extra layer of security.

Authenticating user identity can be done through three different methods:

  • Possession - It refers to adding a second layer of authentication through something only a user owns. This might include security tokens, physical cards, or mobile phones.
  • Knowledge - This refers to adding an extra layer of security through something known only by the user himself. Examples include username and passwords.
  • Inherence - This refers to characteristics inherently unique to the user. Examples include biometric traits and fingerprints.

Usually, 2FA using SMS requires the methods “Knowledge” and “Possession.” For instance, username and passwords (Knowledge) are used to log into an account initially. In addition, a phone PIN (Possession) might be necessary as a second verification method. When at least two factors are required for authentication, security becomes more entrenched. Thus, it would be difficult to hack or bypass an account.

2. Learn How To Identify Fake Websites

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of getting someone to disclose important, sensitive information. This is usually done by acting as legitimate institutions luring individuals and organizations to provide data such as credit card information and banking details, among others.

One of the most common phishing attacks involve using a fake website that looks legitimate. The false, “legitimate-looking” website asks for important user information such as usernames and passwords. When a user falls for this trap, sensitive data regarding their account is obtained by the attacker.

To stay safe when surfing online, you must learn how to spot a fake website from a real one. Below are some tips to help you detect if a website is fraudulent, fake, or a scam.

  • Check the URL closely.

One of the main tactics of phishing involves creating URLs that appear like the actual URL of the website they’re mimicking. Pay attention carefully to the URLs below.


The first URL is the actual one that says that you are on the real website of The second one mimics by including it as a subdomain. However, you are actually in the site See the difference?

  • Check certificate details.

Browsers usually allow you to check a site’s certificate by clicking the Padlock icon located in the address bar.

For Safari:

  • Click the Padlock icon
  • Select “View Certificate”

For Firefox:

  • Click the Padlock icon.
  • Press “More Information”
  • Select “View Certificate”

For Chrome:

  • Click the icon that appears as three little dots.
  • Go to “More Tools”
  • Choose “Developer Tools”
  • Select “View Certificate”

Once the certificate is displayed, you’d have to look for the field “Subject.” This refers to the organization or website the certificate represents. There are three types of certificates, EV, OV, and DV. The information displayed in the subject field differs depending on the certificate type.

An EV certificate shows the EV Name Badge. It displays detailed company info, such as the exact location of the business. An OV certificate will include some information about the company (e.g., name, state, province, country). Finally, a DV certificate will consist of the domain name alone.

OV SSL certificates are standards when it comes to financial institutions and e-commerce businesses. With this certificate type, verified business information will be displayed. There are cases where all of these information are not provided. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to trust the website instantly. However, you still have to be cautious when proving its legitimacy.

3. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date.

This is one of the easiest methods you can apply to protect yourself when searching online. Using antivirus programs and keeping them up-to-date is one of the best practices you can implement.

There are a variety of options out there when it comes to antivirus programs, and you’ll definitely find one that suits your needs and your budget. Regularly check the program for updates and upgrade it when necessary.

In Conclusion

The Internet is a necessity at this point. A lot of activities revolve around this technological advancement. Although it can be beneficial, you are still prone to cybersecurity attacks and breaches.

Being cautious requires you to avoid putting your safety and security at risk. The tips provided above can be applied to prevent disclosing sensitive information regarding your accounts. Plus, these tips can teach you how to have an extra layer of security on one of your most important accounts—your email.

About the Author:

Andrew is a well verse, self-appointed techie who loves technology. When he's not writing about tech and internet related subjects he enjoys working at the local computer store. His spare time involves 4WDing and camping and spending time with his family and friends.




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June 17, 2019
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