As more people come online, dangers of being online, and the dangers of being attacked by someone you don’t even know from a country you’ve never even heard of become more apparent. It then becomes paramount for tech giants like Google — on which a lot of us have most of our lives stored — to push for a safer internet environment.
However, the security that they implement can only do so much if you don’t take this seriously too. So, here are 5 tips Google’s shared to help you stay just that little bit safer when you’re browsing online.
1. Make sure your security checks are green
I’m someone who has most of my life on Google. That’s one of the reasons why it’s hard for me to jump away from Android or Google Chrome. And I’m sure I’m not alone here.
That said, it can be quite difficult to keep up with all the changes and activities surrounding our Google Accounts. But, there is actually a quick way to make sure that your account’s security is in tip-top condition. It’s called the Google Security Check-up.
All you need to do here is make sure all the check boxes are green ticks and you’re good to go. Yellow or red exclamation points means there’s something you need to take care of. To check on the status of your account, head on over to the Security Check-up page.
2. Look out for automatic warnings
This is something Google’s done to warn users about phishing sites, sites with malware or just generally dodgy websites. When you attempt to browse one of these sites, this automatic warning will pop up and warn you about the potentially dangerous site. All you need to do is keep an eye out for these and proceed as you see fit.
3. Set up two-factor authentication
Even the world’s most complex password would be pointless if a hacker manages to get a hold of it. Thankfully, there’s something called two-factor authentication and it’s a feature you can turn on with your Google Account.
All you need to do is head to the 2-Step Verification page and follow the instructions there. What it does is add another layer of authentication on top of your password. To log into your account with this feature activated, you will also need to enter a unique verification code that will be sent to your phone.
This way, even if a hacker manages to extract your password from you, they won’t be able to access your account without your handset.
4. Make sure you only download apps from the Google Play Store
Everyone knows that one of Android’s core strengths is its ability to be customised through various means including app installations from unknown sources (via APKs). However, if you’re someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, installing APKs you download from the internet can be fairly dangerous.
Therefore, you should only install applications that you can download from the Google Play Store. Yes, this is not a fool-proof way but Google does put in work to take down apps that violate their policies. The search engine giant informs us that they’ve taken down over 700,000 apps in 2017 alone.
5. Danger doesn’t only come from hackers
Many mistake internet safety for just protecting yourself from hackers trying to gain access into your account. But a lot of the danger online can also come from the most innocent of sources. If our probe into the messed up world of “kid-friendly” content on YouTube is any indication, there is also plenty of nasty content out there that’s out to get you or your loved ones.
Therefore, it’s important that you do your part in helping report such negative content. On YouTube, for example, you should make use of the flagging function and flag videos that you think is inappropriate. Once content is flagged, Google tells us that YouTube staff will analyse the content and determine of it’s in violation of their policy. If it is, it shall be removed and you’ll be doing the world a huge favour.
It’s a team effort
I think it’s important that we all remember that safety is a group effort. We all have to pitch in to keep the bad guys out and if everyone does their part, we’ll be well on our way to a healthier society.
These are just some of the tips you can use to stay safe online. What are some ways you use to keep safe online? Share them with us in the comments below!