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So… What can I do to protect myself online? Viewed 200,914 timesBy: David Kadlec
Published for Logan, Utah (Area-Info.net Oct. 16, 2011)
So… What can I do to protect myself online?
#1 – Use good passwords and change them often.
Your first line of defense from those who wish to steal your personal information (hackers) is to use good passwords on your email, online banking accounts, and other accounts. A good password should use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters such as asterisks and exclamation points. An example would be to change the word “password” to “P@sSw0rd”. This prevents what are called dictionary attacks where a hacker will use all the words in the dictionary to try to break into your account.
#2 – Use a good antivirus program.
There are several good antivirus programs on the market that will keep the majority of viruses out of your computer. A couple of good, inexpensive, antivirus software programs are Norton AntiVirus® and Kapersky Antivirus®. Antivirus programs work by looking at virus activity that may occur on your computer by utilizing heuristics (use of signatures to look for attributes and characteristics of viruses) and by detecting virus content in data coming in over the Internet. Run a full system scan once a week to make sure nothing has snuck in unnoticed.
#3 – Use a good anti-malware program.
Ever come across something on the Internet that looks too good to be true? It is, and it’s probably Malware. Free antivirus scans or software are the most notorious and damaging forms of Malware currently circulating on the Internet. Don’t fall for anything being offered for free – it will usually end up costing you an expensive trip to the computer shop to have your computer disinfected. A few good, free, anti-malware programs are Spybot Search and Destroy and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Run your anti-malware program on the same schedule as you do your antivirus.
#4 – Practice safe surfing habits.
a) Don’t click on unknown links to other websites.
These usually come in an email and ask you to “click here” for more information, to see something cool, or to get something for free. These links will take you to the bad guys’ website where something called a “drive-by download” may be waiting for you. By simply going to one of these websites you can be infected with a virus.
b) Don’t open email attachments.
An attachment should never be opened unless it is from a verified source. Even if you get an email from your best friend or family member it’s possible that their account has been hijacked and that it’s really a bad guy sending you a malicious package disguised as cute kitty picture, a document, or one of the aforementioned links. During my tenure as an IT educator I received numerous emails from students whose accounts had been compromised. I never opened the attachment or clicked the link unless I first verified it with the student. Imagine their surprise when I showed them an email they never sent!
c) Beware of phishing attempts.
Phishing is simply when someone goes fishing for your information. The most notorious attempts are fake bank notices. You may receive an email from what appears to be your bank asking you to verify your name and password. This is the bad guy trying to get your log in information so he can break into your bank account. NEVER give out user names, passwords, credit card numbers, or any other personal information on the internet!
The PC Shop
email me at email@example.com
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