Today’s post topic is Internet Safety and everything you need to do to remain safe while browsing the web. The post will cover websites, passwords, VPNs, and 2FA.
It’s important to know the difference between Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
What is Hypertext Transfer Protocol? Simply put, HTTP’s main purpose is to transmit hypermedia like text and HTML between servers and browsers.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) operates similarly to HTTP, but the difference is the port they use. While HTTP uses port 80 which is not encrypted, HTTPS uses port 443 which runs over Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer (TLS/SSL). TLS/SSL encrypts the information your web browser sends to the web server for protection against sniffing attacks via tcpdump, wireshark, or other similar applications
TLTR: There is almost no reason you should be visiting an HTTP site. Only visit and use websites that encrypt your data through HTTPS. If you have to connect to an HTTP site, enabled a Virtual Private Network before doing so.
Registering Account Information
- Never use the same password for multiple accounts (especially important ones)
- Never use your personal email, make a new one
- Install a password manager to create and save a strong password (more on password managers later)
- Have a VPN enabled while registering any account
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is another method you can deploy to keep your accounts and personal information secure. 2FA adds security to your account by sending a code via SMS or third-party app to further verify that you’re the only one accessing your account
Personally, I do not recommend SMS verification because of exploits like SIM swapping. Instead, I recommend Google Authenticator. Google Authenticator allows accounts to be secured with time based codes.
Enabling third-party 2FA on Discord is extremely easy, simply go to account and search for “Enable Two-Factor Auth.”
After enabling 2FA, you’ll be promoted to confirm your password. Once you have, a key/code will generate for you to use in your Google Authenticator
Use this code to setup your time based pin in Google Authenticator
When you enter your username and key and select add, a 6 digit time-based code will appear
Copy this code, navigate back to discord, and put it into the pin pad
Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are another way to keep you safe while on the internet. VPNs mask your IP address to websites along with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). With a VPN enabled, websites are not able to track you. In regards to ISPs, it prevents them from illegally monitoring your internet traffic.
Aside from protection against tracking and internet monitoring, VPNs also allow you to access information and websites that may be banned in your country. For example, there are TV shows/Movies on Netflix that may not be available in your country but are available in others. Simply turn on your VPN to the country where it’s not restricted and enjoy it.
Here are a list of VPNs I recommend:
- Express VPN https://www.expressvpn.com
- ProtonVPN https://protonvpn.com
- NordVPN https://nordvpn.com
Last but not least, it’s important for you to have a strong password
It’s hard to keep track of strong passwords. For keeping track of them, I recommend using a password manager.
Password Managers allow you to have hundreds of strong passwords without having to keep them in your memory. All you need to do is remember your Master Password.
For a safe and secure password manager, I recommend LastPass: https://www.lastpass.com
There is a lot of information excluded from this post to keep it short. If you follow these steps, with other basic online internet safety habits, you will remain safe while online. As always, never share your account information with anyone. Do not share your name or personal social media accounts. A lot of malicious attacks can be prevented by simply not being stupid.
I know a lot of you reading this are young, and now is the time to make mistakes and learn from them. If anyone has questions about general internet safety or needs help, please DM me on Discord.