How to make internet access safer

Making internet safer requires users to be a bit more vigilant and aware of the threats


At home, you should protect your WiFi router using built-in encryption standards like WPA 2 (wireless protected access) and add a complex password involving a mix of letters in uppercase and lowercase. Photo: iStockphoto.
At home, you should protect your WiFi router using built-in encryption standards like WPA 2 (wireless protected access) and add a complex password involving a mix of letters in uppercase and lowercase. Photo: iStockphoto.

With an internet user base of 460 million, India emerged as the second major online market in the world in 2016 after China, according to the findings of research agency Statista. While the internet can empower people, it has a dark side too. Here are some safety tips for users who are new to the internet ecosystem.

Know your WiFi network

If you are accessing internet using a WiFi network, there are a few things you should keep in mind. At home, you should protect your WiFi router using built-in encryption standards like WPA 2 (wireless protected access) and add a complex password involving a mix of letters in uppercase and lowercase , symbols and numbers. If you are using a NetGear router, you can do this on NetGear Smart Wizard manager page in wireless settings and security options.

You can also use Firewall on your router to prevent unauthorised access to your wireless network.

If you are using a public WiFi network in a cafeteria, hotel, airport or railway station, it’s safer to know the right SSID (service set identifier) name and the password of the WiFi network before connecting. WiFi networks without password are easy target for hackers.

Identify webpages

For online transactions, it is safer to use websites which use reliable security protocols such as HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). One can identify them through the browser url, where the link address will start with https instead of http or www and the https will be represented in green and not black.

You can also rely on an anti-virus solution as the second line of defence. Anti-virus solutions screen every online activity on your PC or smartphone so they can warn users of a potentially harmful webpage. They can also help users by telling them if a WiFi network is at risk.

Be careful with apps you download

According to a report by app analytics agency App Annie, published in January 2017, more Android apps were downloaded in India than anywhere in the world in 2016.

What makes apps risky is the fact that it is easy for hackers to exploit apps with unprotected binary codes. Many hacker use fake apps to get into a user’s phone and steal personal and financial data. It is important to check credentials such as developer name and user reviews before downloading any app, no matter how real it may look.

Safety filters for children

In case you have a child at home who spends a good deal of time on internet, the firewall mechanism built in the anti-virus solutions can come in handy. A firewall can block searches that you don’t want your child to access. Even web browsers come with built-in safety filters. One can activate them in Browser settings and the browser will not show any adult or unwarranted content to the user. Even online streaming platforms like YouTube have similar safety filters in place to keep adult content out of a child’s reach.

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