10 ways to protect yourself online

Written by
Cultivate IT
Published on
May 17, 2023


Everyone knows that the internet can be an unsafe place. We've all heard stories of people being hacked, identity theft, and other cyber crimes. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself online. In this post, we'll go over 10 things you can do to help protect your data from hackers and keep your personal information safe:

Use a password manager.

Password managers are one of the easiest ways to protect yourself online. A password manager is a third-party application that stores all your passwords in an encrypted database, and allows you to access them with one master password.

The best password managers generate strong, unique passwords for each site, making it nearly impossible for someone to crack your login credentials if they get their hands on them. They also can help create new passwords when websites force users to change their old ones—or reset them entirely due to a breach—and log you into sites automatically so that no one else can use your accounts even after they're compromised by someone else's weak or reused password (which is another common way people get hacked).

Update your devices.

Updating your devices is probably one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself online. New versions of operating systems and applications often contain security fixes that prevent cybercriminals from accessing or stealing information they shouldn't be able to see. If a hacker successfully breaks into your computer or smartphone, it's easier for them to access what's inside if they know how old the software is. So update regularly!

But how often should I update my device? And how do I install updates? When installing new software on your phone or computer, there should be an option somewhere in settings for downloading updates automatically (like "download new apps" or "automatic app updates")--but if not, try going directly through Settings > System > About Phone/Tablet > Software Updates where there will be an option for checking here versus manually choosing each time which apps need updating.

Make sure your browser is secure.

Make sure your browser is secure.

Use a web browser that has no history of security breaches, such as Chrome or Firefox. If you're using Internet Explorer, upgrade to the latest version and turn on automatic updates: Security updates can often fix vulnerabilities before they're even discovered by hackers.

Set up a VPN or virtual private network. This allows you to browse the internet without revealing your IP address (the numerical code assigned to each computer connected to the internet). It also encrypts all of the data coming in and out of your computer so that it's difficult for anyone else to read what you're doing online—even when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are notoriously unsecure.

Set up 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

2-factor authentication (2FA) is a type of authentication that requires two factors to prove your identity. The two factors can be a password and something you know (like a PIN), or they can be something you have (like a phone) and something you know. 2FA is one of the best ways to make sure someone else doesn't get into your accounts because they don't have access to any one factor—they'd need both pieces of information, which gives you much more protection than just using passwords alone.

Get a VPN.

A VPN (virtual private network) is a service that encrypts your internet traffic, allowing you to disguise your IP address and location. It's a useful tool for keeping yourself safe from hackers or government surveillance.

The best VPNs have a strict no-logging policy, meaning they don't track what you do online—and even if law enforcement asked them for information about their subscribers, they wouldn't be able to provide any. On top of that, many of the most popular and reliable VPNs offer high speed connections with unlimited bandwidth and no restrictions on torrenting or P2P file sharing. The premium tier plans range from $3-$15 per month depending on country of residence; however there are some free options available as well (though these tend not to be very good).

Use HTTPS Everywhere.

HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension that ensures that your connection to the internet is secure and encrypted. When you use HTTPS Everywhere, it will automatically upgrade any HTTP pages you go to and make them HTTPS-only. This means if someone tries to spy on or eavesdrop on you as you’re browsing the web, they won’t be able to see what sites you visit or what information they contain.

If you want to know if your current session is using HTTPS Everywhere, simply look at the address bar of your browser. If there are no letters after “www” (e.g., www), then it means that the page has not been converted from HTTP to HTTPS yet. If there are letters after “www” (e.g., https://www), then it means that your session has been converted from HTTP to HTTPS successfully!

Check permissions on apps before downloading them.

It's important to keep in mind that not all apps are created with the user's best interest in mind. When you are downloading an app, it is always a good idea to check what permissions that app asks for and make sure they match up with what you will use the app for. If you're not familiar with technology or don't know how to interpret the permissions, ask someone who knows more than you do about technology—especially if an app is asking for access to things like your location data, camera roll, contacts list or other personal information.

Be careful of public Wi-Fi.

Public Wi-Fi isn't safe

Because public Wi-Fi is not secure, you should use a VPN whenever you are on it. A VPN can help protect your web traffic from being intercepted and read by third parties.

If possible, try to avoid logging into sensitive accounts like email or banking when using public Wi-Fi as well. While this might be inconvenient, it’s better than risking someone else accessing your information without your knowledge or consent.

Be on the lookout for suspicious downloads

  • Be wary of any downloads that come from unknown sources.
  • Don't download files from torrents or peer-to-peer networks.
  • Don't download files from email attachments, especially if they're unsecured.
  • Avoid downloading files from unsecured websites or links, even if they seem to be legitimate sites like Google Docs. If you have to use an insecure connection (if you're at a public Wi-Fi hotspot, for example), don't click on links that could lead to malicious websites—use a virtual private network (VPN) instead.
  • Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date, especially if you're working with sensitive information online or accessing public networks like the Internet at cafes, hotels, etc., where hackers may target these devices

Backup your data frequently

To protect yourself from data loss, it's important to keep important files backed up regularly. You can do this by performing one of the following methods:

  • An external hard drive
  • The cloud (e.g., Google Drive or Dropbox)
  • A USB drive or memory card (if you have one)
  • A private cloud (an internal server maintained by a company that you trust)
  • A friend's computer—if they're willing to let you use their computer as an offsite backup location

There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself online, and it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

  • It is important to take steps to protect yourself online.
  • There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself online, and it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to protect yourself online.
  • Use Cultivate IT as your managed service provider and let us help keep you safe


Everybody should be taking security seriously, but it’s especially important for people who use the internet on a regular basis. You don’t want to put your personal information at risk just because you don't know how to protect yourself online. With these tips in mind, you can feel confident that no matter what device or browser you're using—even public Wi-Fi—you'll always be safe from cybercriminals out there looking for a way into your life!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every other week!

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Cultivate C logo
Ready to see how we can bring you Peace Of Mind?