Identity-theft is a serious crime on rise in today’s ever-connected world. Protecting oneself online should be taken very seriously as the internet invades more and more in our personal lives. Online privacy intrusions can lead to serious consequences. It is very important to pay attention to some key points when you are online.
Use security tools.
Anti-virus software protects you from viruses that can crash your system and destroy your data. It is very important that you update your anti-virus regularly or set it for automatic updates to be able to detect the latest bugs. Do a complete scan of your computer at least twice a month. A firewall keeps hackers out of your computer. Sometimes the system is shipped from the manufacturer with the firewall turned off. Make sure it is turned on. Then there are anti-spyware and anti-malware tools which you should install. These block spyware software that tries to collect your personal data and profile your surfing habits without your knowledge or consent.
Make all transactions on secure sites
Before you do any kind of financial transactions online check the address bar and the security certificate. The website address of a secure website connection starts with “https” instead of just “http”. Click on the padlock icon on the status bar to see the security certificate for the site.
Don’t respond to e-mails requesting personal information.Legitimate entities like your bank or the social security department will not ask you to provide sensitive information through an email. And beware of scam mails that promise to make you heiress of a million dollar property in other continents.
Be safe on social-networking sites
Restrain yourself from sharing your biography on Facebook and twitter. You can use all the security tools correctly, but if you reveal too much personal information, you are still at risk. It is always better to avoid posting your birth year or mother’s maiden name and other sensitive details. Check the privacy settings on Facebook and access it via secure connection.
Use strong passwords
Make your passwords a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Stay away from names of close family members and anything that can be guessed about you.
Do not click on suspicious links received from a friend
There are a number of email-generating viruses that can send fake emails from your contact list. Exercise caution if you receive a link from a friend who otherwise never sends you any links.
Be careful what you download
Download games, software and other products only from trusted sites. Do not go for every other free software that is available. A good research on the ratings and reviews about any product will guide you about the pros and cons of downloading it on your computer.
Beware of “Free” Wi-Fi
Public wireless hot-spots may not be safe especially when they are unsecured. On such networks data encryption is not enabled and anything you send over the net can be read by a hacker with the right tools.
The responsibility of protecting yourself online lies greatly with you. If you are careful, your journey in the cyber world will be smooth and you can enjoy all the conveniences of being online without paying a heavy price. Happy surfing!