Staying safe online in the era of Pokémon Go

Staying safe online is becoming an increasingly relevant issue. 30,000 websites are hacked per day, according to Sophos Labs, and there are millions of hacking attacks every day around the world. Even large and secure companies, such as Verizon, experience data breaches, so an everyday user without any cyber protection – such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) – is open to data theft every day.

For example, Pokémon Go, the wildly popular game, is taking the world by storm. It’s free, exciting, nostalgic and interactive. Users can download it for free on Android and iOS devices. Pokémon Go uses a device’s GPS to determine which Pokémon will appear in the game. However, Pokémon Go is also an illustration of the high security risks that every digital user experiences in the new age of online sharing.

First of all, Pokémon Go requires to login using Google credentials. When users sign in through an Apple device, they automatically give Niantic, the game developer, full access to their Google Drive. Niantic could technically use anyone’s identity to send emails, share their information or photos. Secondly, since Pokémon Go is not available in every country, it’s shared through file sharing websites, and can possibly infected with malware. One known variant of the shared version infects Android devices and allows hackers to access them. Hackers can then download user’s data, steal their identity or banking information, send emails on their behalf and so on.

Every Internet user should be aware of some basic rules in order to stay safe online – whether they are shopping online, downloading a game or doing an online banking transaction. Here are the main rules to follow:

https

The first thing you should always see while doing any online transaction is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.

Stay away from public Wi-Fi

It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous it is to share your personal or financial information with any website or any person over the web while using a public Internet connection. Public Wi-Fi networks are common hunting grounds for attackers and data snoopers who try to access your personal information and use it for their benefit on your expense. Since public networks have negligible security, you should try and avoid using them while making online payments.

Be wary

Being vigilant can help you a lot in the task of shopping online, downloading software or doing any other transaction online securely. Whenever a website requests for more information than is usually required, like your Social Service number or any other kind of personal information, it usually spells fraud. You should always be cautious before giving your personal or financial details anywhere on the Internet.

Use a VPN

VPNs encrypt all the data you share across the Internet on any website. They are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure the data you share over the Internet is safe from prying eyes and remains confidential. You can choose advanced VPNs which offer great connection speeds, use extra safe encryption protocols, have good global coverage, and are quite reasonably priced.

Stronger passwords

Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account set up is using strong passwords. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into your account and cause severe damage.

Be careful about P2P downloads

The recommendation is to stick to app stores as well as known third party providers, such as Amazon, when you download any apps from the Internet.

We live in an exciting digital era, and everyone should be able to take full advantage of Internet without any fears. The methods listed above can help anyone execute any online transactions securely. If something looks out of the ordinary and the deal looks too good to be true, it’s important to be very careful before clicking on suggested links.

Jodi Myers at NordVPN