Protecting ourselves, personal data, and corporate functions against cyber-attacks, third-party providers, and many surveillance authorities that we are not even aware of. On the surface, the internet is about communication, entertainment, banking transactions, and shopping. However, what is waiting for us when we move a little bit deeper?
Fraud, cyberbullying, information hackers, and so on. Hence, your data shared with your favorite shopping website or credit card info saved in your Netflix account cannot be regarded as fully secured. Millions of emails are circulating over the world for phishing attacks and to spread viruses to users who click to the wrong link.
What should be done to use the internet safely?
There is some general advice you can follow of course;
- You should not share any of your passwords with anyone, especially in written form.
- Pay attention to using a virtual credit card with certain limits while shopping on the internet.
- Do not open suspicious emails and do not click the links.
- Always check the website address, be mindful of whether they have SSL certificates, and if not, do not share any personal or financial information with those websites.
- When using your internet banking account make sure that you log out.
- Especially with Public WiFi connections, try to avoid using personal data such as credit card info.
However, this list can be extended for hundreds of risky situations we can imagine in today’s world. We cannot survive a day without connecting, we cannot work, spend time, or reach what we need. Hence, these are would be very limited and preliminary precautions to take.
Let’s get on the more technical side and examine the tools and software that enable using the internet safely for free!
1. Using Free VPN
Virtual Private Network (VPN) technically obscures your internet connection, redirects your connection through different encrypted networks so that you appear in a different location from where you are, become anonymous, and impractical to track. VPNs mask your IP address and prevent ISP or third-party services from monitoring your online activities.
Free VPN providers in particular will keep your details secure, even when the internet is down. Your current Internet service provider can both track your data and document it. The platforms you visit and the software you use to perform your transactions while reaching your data. By using a VPN, you can prevent exposure of the information. You can discover which free VPN is the best by trying them for a certain period and comparing their performance, speed, and downtime ratios from different devices.
There are dozens of free VPNs, however, you should be careful choosing the one, because they do not inherit all security features and competencies. You view free VPN guides including the brand names like ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, Windscribe, and TunnelBear, and then select and try your preference.
2. Using a Proxy
Commonly, Proxy is used to mask IP addresses. It does that with the server prompt, too. You may use a proxy to protect your privacy over the internet. In other words, the websites you access will see the details given by the proxy server, not your address, like with the VPN. Proxies are free services, however, and have no additional software or server sources such as VPNs. This can cause security vulnerabilities and the proxy owners/controllers can still access your data. Generally, using a VPN is a safer way compared to proxies.
3. Use 2FA and Password Managers
To verify your identity, two-factor authentication requires two steps. This could be an SMS containing a second password or link sent to your email or code displayed on your mobile phone. In this way, to log in to your account on any platform, you need to prove that is in 2 steps. Even if someone knows your password, there will be one step further to log in. You can easily two-step verification tools of companies like Google or Yandex.
Also, password managers can help you if you are experiencing difficulty in memorizing and remembering all your passwords.
4. Managing Your Cookies
While cookies are not theoretically developed to threaten security, since they are meant to detect and store information on your browser, they can be also used for malicious intentions. Cookies are useful in terms of storing your password, remembering the spot where you left on a website, and making your life easier. However, they can be installed on your browser to mainly collect your data, process it to create user profiles, and then selling to advertising companies.
And the worst part is that they force you to accept their cookie policies if you want to reach a service or website content. Hence, when you are in a hurry or just want to reach the end of the process, you do not even take a peek in the terms and conditions of cookies that you just accepted.
Therefore, regularly clear your cookies. Check the websites and their permissions given by you. Without knowing, you may give too much consent and authority to them to process your personal information.
Internet and social media are now running by the advertising industry. Hence, gaining insight into consumers is priceless. Giant companies rely on these data to execute their marketing strategies.
VPNs can also help you by anonymizing your information and masking your footprints. They are also successful in terms of ad blocking and regulation of cookies to protect your privacy.
5. Antivirus Program
Antivirus programs are our oldest trustworthy friends on our digital journey. Although they have achieved tremendous progress through the years, their main function is based on scanning your system files regularly, detecting suspicious files and activities, quarantining them, and finally getting rid of these malicious files from the system. They are an indispensable part of our surfing experience if you do not want to compromise your security. Indeed, they are a must.
There are many free versions of well-known antivirus software such as Kaspersky, Avast, and so on. Also, new-gen antivirus programs are coming along with built-in VPN features that are aimed at providing extra security. Using a free antivirus program is a simple and fast way to navigate safely on the Internet.
What did we learn?
Further additional software and free tools can be added to this list such as secure browsers, back up software, email filtering tools, etc. We mentioned the most vital ones to propose a clear and applicable way. Free VPN use is the most prominent method to ensure privacy. And since VPN has all of the proxy’s features, it also provides features that deliver higher efficiency, protection, and privacy. If you want to find a solution to use the internet safely for free in which your data will be secured using a free VPN is undoubtedly your safest alternative.