Monday, 28 June 2021

Staying safe on the Internet

A lot is said about being safe in the Web world. And yes, I suppose the Internet is a bit like the old Wild West, everyone carrying a gun. But some are more adept at using it than others. Should we protect our tech? Sure we should. Our personal data is as said, personal! If I want to buy something and search for it using the Internet then I don’t want cookies being stored on my system that record my preferences (I like scantily clad ladies) and worse share that with other sellers as well. So, indeed it pays to be vigilant. I discarded Windows long ago and went over to Linux. Safer but it depends how you use your systems. Clicking on everything you see will soon get you into trouble. Firefox now can give us total cookie protection, locking them so they cannot be shared. Personal info recorded by the site you visit cannot then be used by other sites building up a profile of your preferences. But even better is to combine Firefox with another search engine. DuckDuckGo is good but Startpage (all free) I think is much better and also very easy to use. All you need to do as it is not highlighted in Firefox, is to put the url (address-line) into the Firefox Settings. Click Settings , select Home and enter into the address bar ‘Homepage and new windows’. Private browsing is also available. I use Startpage on all my electronic gadgets.

We all should look how we use our systems. Switch off during the night. You won’t do much at the keyboard when you’re sleeping unless you sleepwalk, in which case it will be gibberish anyway. Switch off the computer. If you have a router there might be a way to inactivate it during set times. Mine closes down at midnight and opens at 7am. Unless I start banging on a keyboard in the middle of the night, then it will activate again. The other thing you should use is 2FA (Two factor authorisation). If you are in possession of a mobile phone it is easy to set up and well worthwhile. Banking already uses it. I am not sure what would happen if you lost your phone but I am sure as a responsible citizen you won’t lose it. I also use a Yubikey, and not a single person can use my Google account unless they know my password and have the key! Relatively cheap (about £70) it is worth buying. Lots of other companies can use it too, not just Google. All well worth a look, good luck. Finally, don't forget to set up a VPN (Virtual private network). There are free ones but I definitely recommend you use a paid-for app. The paid applications tend to have many more servers all across the world and most do not collect data either to sell to the highest bidder. PIA, ExpressVPN are two that stand out and are easy to install. Both are multi platform as well. Firefox also now has a VPN capability. Not sure at this time whether and what they do with our data. But have a look and read the small print!

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