Tips for safe surfing on the Internet

Juan Anabalón, cybersecurity expert and academic at the San Sebastián University, provides some recommendations to protect Internet security.

This week marks the day of the Internet user, celebrating 31 years since a web page was first published worldwide, in August 1991. This would not have been possible without the ingenuity of Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist who founded the World Wide Web Consortium, with the aim of promoting the exchange of information between researchers from universities around the world.

“The great thing that Berners Lee did is that instead of patenting his idea and having made millions of dollars for his invention, he decided to leave the standard open to everyone, with the goal that anyone could publish a website and link to it. with others, without the need for authorization. In this way, a network of hyperlinks could be created that has continued to spread to this day,” he says. Juan Anabalonacademician of the Advance careers of Information Technology Engineering and Cybersecurity Engineering and Computer Audit of the San Sebastian University.

The web has undoubtedly been one of the great inventions of humanity. However, it has also meant a potential danger for Internet users, as more and more crimes are carried out online. According to a PDI report prepared this year, 58% of scams in Chile are committed online. Something relevant considering that, according to a study by We Are Social and Hootsuite, there are currently 17.7 million Internet users in the country, that is, 92% of the population.

Most cybercrimes take the form of Phishing and Malware. While Malware is a variety of malicious software (viruses, worms, Trojans, etc.), Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to obtain confidential information from users fraudulently, appropriating the identity of those people.

How to browse safely?

· Have a good antivirus. “Hopefully with a paid license, which has a greater power of protection against identity theft, among other advantages,” says Anabalón.

· Keep both the operating system and installed applications up to date on your computer or device. “This applies to both computer and mobile phone updates, since the latter is an objective that is normally more neglected in cybersecurity.”

· “Be careful with people who contact us online, so as not to fall into the famous story of the uncle”, and not to click on any link that comes to us. WhatsApp thefts have increased during the pandemic, as well as the hijacking of Instagram or Facebook accounts, where criminals impersonate the user’s identity, and then ask their acquaintances for money through chats. “You always have to make sure that you are talking to the person you claim to be, asking questions that are difficult to answer,” says Anabalón.

· Set up a second factor of authentication It is a required action today, and configuring this in WhatsApp is essential. This can be found under Settings/Accounts/Two-Step Verification.

· Check the legitimacy of the sites through verification of protocols HTTPS (if the URL includes an “s” at the end, it means that it is a secure site). Another security sign in some browsers is that it has a green padlock at the beginning of the link. “These are minimum characteristics that must be taken care of.

· Avoid access to websites of dubious origin. Through social engineering techniques, cybercriminals attract users’ attention with incredible offers, prizes, free trips, etc. “It is important to be very attentive to these supposed promotions, to avoid falling into information theft or identity theft.”

· Use strong passwords and disable the option to automatically remember them, in addition to always checking before providing sensitive information, such as emails, telephone numbers, identification and card numbers. A very important help is to use a password management system, which helps to generate secure keys and keep them protected. In keepass.info you can find a free alternative; paid antiviruses also provide this service.

· Be careful with online purchases. The academic suggests always doing it through official sites, and thus avoid one of the most repeated scams (according to the PDI report), which is the famous “Sale without delivery”, which happens when a buyer makes the payment or transfer for an item, and then the seller disappears and the product never arrives.

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