Whether you’re a parent, a regular Joe or a business person, you most probably have a computer at home. It is the norm these days to use computers and the internet for all sorts of things. Such modern gadgets have changed and continue to change the way people communicate, interact, or do business. With all the ease that such high-tech devices bring, however, users forget a very crucial aspect; and that is security.
Because there are different kinds of online crimes, security should definitely be one of your main considerations when setting up or using your laptops, computers, iPods and other devices that use the internet. For example, cyber stalking and identity theft are becoming quite rampant, which is alarming. So, what can you do?
1. Protect and Update Security Software
If you think that security software is just something that huge companies invented to get to your dollars, then you’re rather mistaken. It is actually very important for your computer to be equipped with programs that could detect viruses or malware that it could easily get while it’s hooked up. There’s also the anti-spyware software which readily detects and get rids of malicious programs. So many reliable companies offer dependable security software, such as Avira, Norton, AVG, Webroot, ESET, and others.
2. Be Wary When Using Wi-Fi Networks
When you see a coffee shop or maybe a restaurant that offers free Wi-Fi, you might feel you’re heart skipping a bit. Oh, the delight that free Wi-Fi access brings! But don’t be too happy that you immediately get a chair, order some drinks, and start tapping away. Remember that using a Wi-Fi network leaves you vulnerable to hackers. Although most credit card companies, banks, or reliable online shops are pretty much secure as they encrypt their sites, your emails and other sites that you use may not be as safe. So, if you’re using a Wi-Fi network, be very careful. Avoid giving out personal data to others while using unsafe connections. So, don’t send your credit card information, passwords or other vital data through emails or via chat or messages. Also, use https on the browser bar to make sure that you’re secure.
3. Create Unique Passwords
You might be tempted to use short and simple passwords that you can easily remember. But keep in mind that the simpler a password is, the easier it will be to hack. Try to be creative. Use numbers and letters, and vary by using small and capital letters. You can also check with certain programs if your password is effective and strong enough to resist a cunning hacker. Check out Microsoft’s guide about creating access codes. Then, make sure that you take note of your password and write it down somewhere safe, especially if you’re the forgetful type.
4. Watch Out for Scams and Spams
If you receive emails from people or companies that you don’t know or haven’t gotten in touch with, ignore such emails. For instance, you get an email telling you that you won a million dollars. Don’t get too excited just yet. Think hard first if you’ve actually joined any raffle promos or online contests. If you can’t think of any, then avoid responding to such emails. Usually, these online crooks will tempt you with your supposed winnings. But then, they’ll ask for courier fees or other payments first so that they will be able to send you your “prize.” As for phishing scams, be wary of people asking you for credit or bank info. Don’t just handover vital information without first checking if they are legitimate.
Claire Brown is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to several legal sites and also bailbondsdirect.com. She blogs about internet security, security gadgets and software, and cyber crime.