Follow these 10 tips to stay online safe – a must read article
Keep yourself safe from harmful Trojans and worms is a constant battle especially as technology advances, and there are many ways for these devious individuals to compromise systems. Best practice is to be mindful of which sites we visit ensuring that it is safe and secure as well as watching which personal information we post. Another best practice would always be to monitor children while on the internet. There are many ways that predators and other harmful individuals can tap into our systems and entice young children into doing things they aren’t aware is detrimental. It is suggested that when your little one is online that you always monitor the sites they visit and individuals they are talking with. Try some of these safety tips and ensure that everyone in your household has a safe online experience.
1 Knowing the Scams that are out there
As in the actual physical world, we live in the virtual online world is constantly evolving with new ways for hackers and identity thieves to perform acts that will cause our system to be up for invasion. Visit the FBI official website as well as other watchdog group sites and even the Better Business Bureau to see the current online scams out there. Knowledge is power.
2 Do Not Click Unless You Are Absolutely Sure of the Source
Never click on any emails that require attachments to be downloaded or direct you to another website. Oftentimes these attachments and links can contain viruses, spyware and malware that are meant to compromise your system. Also, if you receive an email from your friend but it looks odd or out of the ordinary best practice would be to delete it. If they need to contact you, they can surely call you if it is this urgent. Another place to be mindful is instant messenger. Many times hackers or phishers will hack instant messaging accounts or create other names to send out links enticing you to click on it. Once you do, you could be asking for a world of trouble. Best advice is to be 150% sure you know and trust who is sending this link. If you are in any doubt, then exit out of the message or delete the email. It also wouldn’t hurt to run your spyware and anti-virus program just in case.
3 Beware of Phony Websites
Be extra cautious of the websites you visit while surfing the World Wide Web. Hackers are getting quite proficient in duplicating what seems like legitimate sites that you bank and do business with. Look for any unusual things on the site such as misspellings, grammar errors or anything that stands up or don’t seem right. You may also want to contact the company you do business with and alert them. Most businesses have a fraud and security team who sole purpose is to investigate matters like this. It doesn’t hurt to notify your local Better Business Bureau as well.
4 Shop Safely
When going to different shopping sites you want to ensure that the beginning of the sites address starts with https:// and has a padlock to the left or right of the sites address. If it doesn’t, then it is not advised to do business with the company. Any legitimate company or shopping network will have this to ensure a consumer’s credit or debit card and anotherfinancial information are encrypted from any hacks. Also, when shopping online, it is best to use a credit card more so than your debit card. Credit card institutions will be much easier to handle a disputed fraudulent charge than your local bank.
5 Use Strong Passwords and Change them often
When using passwords you want to use a combination of big and lower case letters and symbols and change them often. It is suggested that the passwords be changed every few months especially for sites you use to pay bills and bank with. Examples of a secure password would be PhoenixBillDog$5@Grater, for instance. The longer, the better. If you have a shorter password example Grape 71, it could be easy for a hacker to crack it and gain access to your information. Never use your birthdate, social security number, address or any other identifiable information for a password.
6 Back Up all Information on your computer and other devices.
Back up all information you keep on your computer, tablets, and other electronic devices by downloading onto a USB flash drive. These are cheap enough to buy typically between $10 to $20 and can save a ton of headaches in the event should your information become compromised. Also, regularly check bank and credit card accounts for any suspicious activity. PayPal accounts should be verified fairly frequently as hackers are well known for gaining access here.
7 Monitor Your Wireless connection
If you don’t already, you should have your wireless router password protected. Leaving it unprotected is giving your network and other devices and personal information open access to prying eyes.
8 Install Firewall
Having Firewall installed is a great asset for any internet or home computer user. This keeps your system protected from the thousands if not millions of potentially harmful hacks that can occur on a daily basis. While your system probably comes with a Firewall installed you might want to also explore installing a paid version which can add more features and give you optimum protection.
9 Having Automatic Updates Set Up
If you don’t have automatic updates set up for your Firewalls, Anti-VirusSpyware, and other essential protection services, then you are doing yourself and your computer no good. Compare it not getting a flu shot ever year. How can you prevent it from coming if you don’t have the latest vaccine as the strain changes all the time?The same process works with your automatic updates. To ensure you have the latest software have the automatic updates checked, and you will have no worries.
10 Using Common Sense When Surfing The Internet
Just using common sense can save you from a harmful computer virus. Things such as opening unknown attachments giving out passwords and downloading free software can save you tons of time and headaches, in the long run.