10 Safety Measures Women must take to keep themselves safe online

CAP 2021

Have you ever felt unsafe or intimidated while using the web? Ever been attacked by online trolls or bullies? Or ever wondered why you end up becoming just another target for online scams?

Women’s safety on the web has always been a question of concern. According to a recent study, young women, those  between18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment.

Here are 10 safety measures you can use while using the internet:

  1. Be a Selective Sharer- We find too many occasions that lead us to share our personal information online; however, it is important to keep a watch on the details you put out there. Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research says,  “In real life, we don’t interact with anyone and everyone. In the same way, you have to be very selective about your online interaction. Incase someone enters in a fraudulent way or false identity, you can report that user. Never feel lazy or shy when something goes wrong online. Immediately report it to that platform you are using.”  A lot of your personal information, like your identity cards or date of birth, can be used to impersonate you or guess your social media passwords.
  2. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication- Turning your Two-factor authentication can be a long process for some, but it makes your account two times more secure. Having the two-factor authentication turned on gives another layer of security to your social media accounts. It is simply beyond having a unique username and password. Every time someone tries to log in from a different device or even a registered one, this feature will send you a notification to confirm whether the unidentified log in is made by you.  The verification is usually done by a special code that is sent to your registered mobile number or email address.
  3. Use unique and different passwords- One of the easiest ways to being the target of online hacking is to set the same password for all your social media accounts. Usually, hackers steal your information and use the same combination of username and password to access not only your socials but also your banking websites and email services. As much as it is important to set a different, unique, and strong password, it is equally important to avoid using passwords that hold your personal information like your name or date of birth.
  4. Use trusted Wi-Fi sources to use the internet- Using a public service or free wifi for playing candy crush or reading news is a simple task with no harm. But, it’s a risky job to use the free wifi to access your social media accounts. It’s tempting to use the free Wi-Fi at a metro station or a coffee shop to check your email or pay your bills, but logging in from a public network connection can give access to your private information to any potential hacker within seconds. To be on the safer side, it is advised to use a secure and trusted internet connection.
  5. Report & Block- Remember, you are not obliged to accept friend requests from people you barely know. For anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable online or you don’t have a right feeling about them, it’s better to trust your instinct and block them. For online trolls, bullies, or predators, your reaction to their actions plays a big role. It is not advised to ignore them, but you can always report the user to the online platform and block their further interaction with you.
  6. Don’t Fall Prey to Click Bait- Never click on the links you receive in emails or your messaging app or even on Facebook unless they are from a trusted and verified resource. Phishing links can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device, or sometimes, even get access to your social, personal, and banking details.
  7. Always Keep up to date- Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turning on automatic updates will make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.
  8. Do not share private photos online-  Advocate Mayank Mikhail Mukherjee at SheThePeople TV’s Online Safety Summit said, “One thing to remember is that nothing on the internet can ever be scrubbed. We say it, but practically it is not possible. There are certain harms that are self-generated. We often forget the long-term consequences and the probability of sending a picture that should not have been sent or taking a video that was better avoided. At the moment, it seems fun. But no one in their teenage is mature enough to handle the consequences.”
  9. Use a Firewall- Even if your network is secure, it is advised to use a firewall for double protection.  firewall is an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorised access to your computers and devices and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using this ensures the security of all your devices connected to the network, including the Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams.