Staying safe online: As device hacking, phishing scams and malware have become more common, the Internet can feel like a really dangerous place. Especially with the recent hike in the number of smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected appliances, these smart devices have really opened us up to even greater risks.
The good news is that by taking just a small handful of security measures we can greatly reduce our exposure to all these threats. Here are our selection of the top 10 handy tips to help you get started…
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Staying Safe Online – Top 10 Tips:
- Stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.
Read articles and blogs, follow the news, and share this so you can learn about different kinds of scams and what you can do to avoid them and also help your friends.
- Think before you click.
Never click on links in messages from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information or download malware to your computer. You should even be wary with emails from people you do know if it looks or sounds suspicious. Hackers can create a malicious email that looks like it came from your best friend’s email account.
- Browse the internet with caution.
Beware of fake websites. These sites may have an address that’s very similar to a legitimate site, but the page can have misspellings, bad grammar or low resolution images. However, scammers are getting better at replicating sites so make sure. If a site asks for personal information, that you double check the URL and make sure it’s not asking for information it shouldn’t.
- Check for the padlock in the address bar.
Don’t shop on a site unless it has the “https” and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL. Also, protect yourself and use a credit card instead of a debit card while shopping online—a credit card company is more likely to reimburse you for fraudulent charges.
- Use stronger passwords, a different one for each site.
Do away with the “Fitguy1982” password and use an extremely uncrackable one like 9&4yiw2pyqx#. Phrases are good too. Regularly change passwords and don’t use the same passwords for critical accounts. For more tips on how to create strong passwords, go to www.passwordday.org.
- Protect your data, backup regularly.
Back up all of your data on your computer, smartphone and tablet in the event of loss, theft or a crash. Also, routinely check your various financial statements for questionable activity.
- Lock down your WiFi network.
Protect your network by changing your router’s default settings and making sure you have the connection password-protected.
- Install a software or hardware firewall.
A firewall is a great line of defense against cyber-attacks. Although most operating systems come with a firewall, you might want to consider installing a much better firewall than the one that comes built into your operating system.
- Update your operating system, antivirus and 3rd party software regularly.
The best security software updates automatically to protect your computer. Use the manufacturer’s latest security patches to make regular updates and make sure that you have the software set to do routine scans.
- Stay smart, think carefully, if it sounds to good to be true… it is!
You do not need to be a seasoned computer whiz to know that it’s not smart to open an attachment titled, “Claim Your Inheritance!” Using common sense while surfing the Web can protect you from some hungry cyber-shark.