According to a study by the Pew Research Center, most online abuse takes place on social media. Although men are also subject to online harassment – which includes name-calling, derision, and physical threats – the study found that online, women are more than twice as likely as men to experience sexual harassment.  

In addition, more than half of women ages 18-29 report having been sent sexually explicit images without their consent.

This number is only growing, and while 70% of women believe online harassment to be a major problem, not many know how to prevent it.

Women are often targeted simply because they are women. Attacks are often sexualized or misogynistic, and rhetoric tends to focus on their bodies and sexual violence. This is both physically and emotionally damaging, and women are often intimidated into silence, preferring to disengage rather than put themselves at risk.

As of late, an unfortunate number of women have become victims of horrifying crimes. Here, we have gathered a few tips to stay safe at all times, this includes staying safe when it comes to cyber-crimes.

This guide is intended to empower women to navigate the internet without fear.

Never Leave Your Webcam On

There are many apps that has the capability to switch on your webcam, allowing just about anyone to record your movements without your knowledge. Always take extra precautions and disable your camera as well as cover it when you’re not using it.

Browsing Safely And Anonymously

When browsing the web, personal data and internet activity are being collected and recorded. Websites collect data such as demographics, intimate interests and tastes, personal habits and hobbies.

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This enormous amount of personal data includes sensitive information like credit card data, physical location, sexual preferences, religion, health and others. This information is extremely valuable to companies, governments and malicious actors alike and can be exploited and facilitate targeted attacks on women. One part of the solution is to using a VPN.

ExpressVPN, which comes highly rated by users and reviewers, works on devices including Windows, Android, iOS, Linux and routers. Based in the British Virgin Islands, it costs around $8.32 a month if you take out a 12-month plan. With a network of more than 2,000 servers in 94 countries, Express offers top-notch coverage in Europe and the US. It also works pretty well in Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. It uses its own DNS servers and employs high-end encryption tech to ensure your security and privacy.

ExpressVPN offers access to more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, alongside maybe the widest platform support you’ll find anywhere.

Plan LengthMonthly CostDiscountTotal Price
1 Month$12.950%$12.95 at ExpressVPN
6 Months$9.9923%$59.95 at ExpressVPN
15 Months$6.6749%$99.95 at ExpressVPN

We’re not just talking about native clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, plus iOS, Android, and even BlackBerry. There’s a custom firmware for some routers, DNS content-unblocking for a host of streaming media devices and smart TVs, and surprisingly capable VPN browser extensions for anything which can run them.

All that functionality could sound intimidating to VPN newbies, but ExpressVPN does more than most to help. An excellent support website is stuffed with detailed guides and tutorials to get you up and running. And if you do have any trouble, 24/7 live chat support is on hand to answer your questions.

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The good news continues elsewhere, with ExpressVPN delivering in almost every area. Bitcoin payments? Of course. P2P support? Yep. Netflix unblocking? Naturally. Industrial-strength encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, solid and reliable performance, and a clear no-logging policy? You’ve got it.

Downsides? Not many to speak of. The ExpressVPN service supports five simultaneous connections per user (increased recently from three), and it comes with a premium price tag. But if you want a speedy service, crammed with top-notch features, and with all the support you need to help you use them, ExpressVPN will be a great fit. While they don’t have a free trial, ExpressVPN has a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the service.

Never Share Your Passwords

According to the Norton CyberCrime Report two in three people believe it’s riskier to share their email password with a friend than lend them their car. The fear is reasonable. While friends may not intentionally cause you harm, they may accidentally reveal your password to someone. Sometimes relationships change before your password does. Use your discretion and keep those passwords private and complicated.

Don’t Meet Online Acquaintances Alone.

Always let your friends and family know where you are going and who you are meeting. Make sure you meet the person in a crowded coffee shop or mall.

Block People You Don’t Want To Interact With

Never feel weird declining friend requests from people you barely know. Trust your instinct and ignore, unfriend, or block them. You get to choose who stays on your friend list.

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When it comes to safety, both online and offline, common sense is the first line of defense. Your instincts play a critical role in your protection. If something feels ‘off’, go with your instincts. You don’t have to explain your reasoning to anyone.

We often use the internet for research or as a means of communication or entertainment. In order to ensure we remain safe while surfing the internet, it is important to discuss openly the best practices for surfing the internet.

  1. One should refrain from publishing personal sensitive information on any social media or otherwise;
  2. Content which is private should be secured using complex passwords,
  3. Printers, wifi, webcams, and computers, should be shut down and not kept continuously open when not in use. Wifi should always be protected by a secure password
  4. Do not access the links to which an email can direct you and then ask you for personal information;
  5. While using net banking do not adopt google search or other search and instead of typing the correct address of your bank yourself in the address bar;
  6. Before online shopping check if the site address shows it is https or carries an image of a lock;
  7. Keep complex Passwords and change them regularly. Use a two-step OTP verification process to access your e-mail accounts.
  8. Install anti-spyware and antivirus and keep them updated.
  9. Refrain from answering calls from strangers, visiting popup windows, or unwarranted verification messages that may ask you to confirm your personal information.
  10. While downloading plugins to any software, screen it prior to downloading using an antivirus.
  11. Maintain complete backup of your system/mobile data periodically
  12. Avoid checking your email accounts at cyber café, and remember to sign off from your online account when you no longer want to access an account.
  13. Register for Mobile SMS, Email Transaction Alerts if one pays online, or uses net banking.
  14. Visit banks website by typing the URL in the address bar.otherwise it could be a fake website in a search result
  15. Make use of the virtual keyboard wherever possible for better security
  16. If you change a mobile number, inform the bank. If you lose your phone, don’t forget to deactivate all banking services linked to that number.
  17. Avoid exchanging old mobile phones with new ones as data within it can be misused to harass the phone owner or others and commit other crimes including phishing.
  18. Do not leave your mobile phone/laptop unattended or without password protection with anyone.
  19. Deactivate a web service such as Whatsapp on your old phone before you activate it on your new cellphone.
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