Protect Yourself Online
Posted on Jun 25, 2014
As of today, the internet is used by almost half the planet's population. It’s remarkable given that only 19 years ago less than 1% of the world even possessed an internet connection and, even then, most would be using slow dial up technology.
There are virtually an unlimited number of opportunities to use the internet to good effect, yet despite this, there is also a darker side to information access.
Every time you go online and share information you potentially suffer some risk. Even established behemoths of the internet such as giant retailer as eBay came under attack last month, which resulted in them having to ask their millions of users to change their passwords.
How worried should you be?
Do you find yourself wondering how safe your personal data is? Who could be accessing it without you being aware? There is no guarantee that even adopting the most rigorous of security practices will protect you 100%. However you can minimise the chances of suffering loss or inconvenience by protecting yourself online.
Tip #1 Run Security Software
No matter how often you go online or what kind of websites you visit, you really should ensure you are running a security software. Whether your operating system comes with a built-in firewall or if you have installed an antivirus, anti-malware or anti-spyware solution, make sure you keep it up to date. In this way you'll have all the necessary features to help protect you and your device.
For those who don't like paying, the good news is there is a large amount of software offered free of charge. Techradar.com recently published a recommended list of the best free antivirus software available. Check what you have and if you still don't have one installed, hurry up and get one ASAP.
Tip #2 Create Sophisticated Passwords
"Password123" is seriously not a recommended option anymore. Neither is "letmein", "shadow" or "princess" as security firm SplashData revealed. If you are creating a new password, take your time and think very well before writing something which is too easy to guess (or for that matter too hard to remember to the point where you have to resort to writing it down!).
Have a different password for each profile, email or website you are using, and keep changing them every 3 months.
Just a couple of weeks ago the users of Yahoo mail received an email advising everyone to change their passwords if they were similar to other personal accounts. If you want to be safe, take Yahoo's advice.
If someone told me ten years ago that 80% of my shopping will be done online, I would never have believed it. Today it seems completely natural to visit Amazon to buy a new music download or DVD. Some people have even started doing their daily food shopping online.
Whilst there are a vast array of popular and secure e-commerce websites, there are also several scam ones. Be aware!
Before submitting your bank details online, check if the website is safe. In fact if you can avoid doing so, don't. For example if there's an option to enter your credit card details or use your paypal account (which in effect does the same thing without your supplying any financial data to the merchant) maybe it'd be a good idea to consider the latter. If you are not sure, Google the name of the website to reveal its legitimacy.
"Watch this video! It's incredible", "I found these pictures with you!" There are thousands of examples of spam links you might receive. Think twice before clicking on them. Get into the habit of NOT clicking on links by default.
Whether or not you recognise the sender's email address, if the content is unexpected or looks suspicious, just ignore it.
Social media is the fastest growing channel and today's marketers absolutely adore it! But do you know who else loves social media? Burglars, hackers and thieves!
"Don't forget to leave your keys under the mat as well, to make it even easier".
If you are planning to go on holiday or get a big paycheck or buy a new Ferrari, keep it private and don't share it on social media. There is always someone out there looking for an easy catch.
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