In today’s world of increased inter-connectivity, a great deal of men and women meet each other online. While this is convenient in terms of access – considering how many dating websites, forums and applications are in use today, it is also risky as it lends considerable anonymity to the person on the other end of the exchange, which could spell trouble. However, a few basic precautions can make a difference and keep you safe.
There are simple but necessary precautions you can take to protect yourself while on the internet.
- A complex password:
It goes without saying, you should have a complex password for any account you make online. The harder your password is, the harder it is for a potential hacker to gain access to your online presence (and those nude selfies you took in the bathroom, too!). Not only are more complex passwords harder to guess, it's extremely difficult to figure out the password through brute force attacks. There is no downside to using a complex password so you should definitely use one...it's for your best interest.
- No face pictures:
This is particularly important for “no picture, no reply” lot. If you are going to send your pictures to anyone, make sure to exclude your face or blur it out. If the person on the other end of this exchange is not who they say they are, it is safest not to give them any potential material to blackmail you with.If you really trust this person, you can use a video chatting client such as skype of google duo to talk to the person face to face. This way, you both know each other's face.
- Meet in a public place:
If you’re arranging a meeting with someone you met on the internet, do so at a public place. Not only will this give you the opportunity to gauge the other person before taking the relationship further, but will also protect you in case the person turns out to be a mismatch. Furthermore, you should never invite a complete stranger to your place, at least not on the first meeting. Also make sure to avoid meeting at night, even in a public place. One trick that online predators use is tell the person they are supposed to meet that they are running late, they do this so they can attack the person in the night. If it is possible, take one of your friends so you can have some added protection in the event that things go south.
- Don’t feed the troll:
If you happen to find yourself being stalked or harassed by someone online, the best course of action is to report them to the relevant cyber-authorities and block them. Don’t engage them in attacks, as this may infuriate them and they could potentially hack into your account and blackmail you – although this will be harder to do provided you follow the first rule of this article.
- Use proxy server to surf the internet anonymously:
You probably know this already but if you don’t, using some kind of proxy software online is always advisable. Not only can you access the blocked websites, but can also protect you against any kind of unwanted logs that track your online activities. A popular type of software that achieve this is VPNs. They mask your location, thus, protects your privacy.
We hope you follow these rules to stay safe online as internet privacy is a great problem in today's world.