25 tips for navigating the internet today

The internet continues to become more complex, and the changing social norms and constant scam threats can exhaust even canny users. Stacker compiled a list of 25 tips you can use each day to stay safe, avoid scams, and keep your personal information personal—along with some security specifics and search tips. The best tips from public agencies and portals like USA.gov, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Grants.gov, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and the FBI were combined; the most recommended tips are saved for last. 

Some of these tips may seem obvious, but changing internet norms and the move to smartphones has reset many people’s sense of what’s safe to do or not. Instead of just wild and clearly fake email scams, the internet is full of shiny, professional-looking sites that look exactly like where you planned to buy your concert tickets. On social media, we’re bombarded with ad after ad for legitimate and scammy businesses with no regulation to set the two apart.

On a 2018 episode of the internet culture podcast “Reply All,” the hosts helped someone find out who’d stolen her Instagram account—yes, stolen—and experts now suggest we think of identity theft as a matter of when, not if. The same technophiles who’ve shredded the security of major retailers in the last five or 10 years are looking for low-hanging fruit in the form of accounts whose passwords they can easily guess or break.

When it comes to protecting your computer, your smartphone, and your bank account, there’s never been a better time to check and double-check. Giving in to those 50 accumulated antivirus updates, switching on Windows’ automatic updates, turning on two-factor authentication, and a few other simple tweaks will help you breathe easier in just minutes. And learning some new paradigms for what you say and where you say it online will serve you just as well in the long run.

Read on for security and safety tips, as well as some best practices for staying happy and connected online.

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