10 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself Online
a guest Jun 19th, 2017 48 Never
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- Online identity theft is on the rise, with billions of dollars of losses now reported each year. Because “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, taking certain precautions can help you stay safe. Here are some easy things you can do to protect yourself online:
- 1. Never use the same user id you use for email or internet logon for anything else.
- Using separate user id's for important accounts will help minimize the security risk in the event someone gets hold of your credentials.
- 2. Never use your email password for anything else.
- By keeping a separate and distinct password for your email account, you will help prevent unauthorized access to your email.
- 3. Make sure all passwords are difficult to “guess”.
- As a rule of thumb, use a minimum of 8 characters. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters and at least one number or special character. Safeguard your user id’s and passwords just as you would your bank account information and PIN number.
- 4. Never click on links in emails, particularly from banks and credit card companies that you have an account with.
- Open up a web browser, key in the website address and then log in. Cyber-thieves routinely send emails that look like legitimate correspondence from your bank. The links they give you normally take you to a copy of a legitimate website – this is called ”phishing”. Inputting your account information onto these fraudulent websites will allow thieves to gain access to your real account – this part of the scam is called ”pharming”.
- 5. Unless absolutely necessary, never download and install freeware.
- If you do download free software, only download from developer’s “official” site. Many copycat sites exist that are fraudulent – especially those offering a free virus scan or spyware scan. Downloading software or allowing your PC to be “scanned” by an unofficial website will most certainly install spyware on your system.
- 6. Use parental control software if children use the computer.
- This will prevent access to questionable websites where spyware can secretly be installed. It will also help protect youngsters from online predators. Many internet security suites include parental control software. If you have kids who use the internet, it’s a good idea to have this extra layer of protection.
- 7. Be sure you are using the most current version of web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, etc…), and check to be sure its security settings are set as high as you can stand it.
- This will ensure that you are not surfing the net with an insecure browser and will prevent many sites from installing certain types of spyware and adware on your PC.
- 8. Never click on pop up ads as this can install spyware on your system.
- One click is all it takes to have spyware secretly installed. Many pop up advertisements will take you to unscrupulous websites where your security could be at risk.
- 9. Avoid browsing to questionable websites.
- Sites that contain illegal, immoral or lewd content are often havens for spyware. Simply viewing some of these sites is all it takes to infest your computer with spyware.
- 10. Use a Computer Security Suite, and set it to automatically download and install updates.
- Also known as an Internet Security Suite, this software is a must have for every computer that accesses the internet. It will protect you from dangerous viruses, spyware, phishing emails and intruders.
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