You probably know that there are lots of online scams, where scammers go after your data. Once they get your login IDs and passwords, account numbers, or credit card numbers, they can use them for identity theft or to run up fraudulent charges or empty your bank account.
It can be hard to tell a scam site from the real site sometimes, as many of these crimes are very sophisticated. One of the reasons that these scams are so prevalent is that so many people fall for them.
Feeling a little paranoid? Afraid to switch your computer on? Don’t be. Although nothing is 100% safe, taking a few simple precautions will keep your data secure and make it very unlikely that you will be the victim of a cybercrime.
Protect your passwords.
Do not give your passwords out to others. Don’t write them all down and post them next to your computer, or keep the list in your purse.
Use unique passwords and log ins.
If you always use the same password, once someone knows the password for one account, they can guess at how to log in to other accounts. It can be hard to remember a lot of passwords, so use Roboform to generate and store unique passwords. (Get a free trial of Roboform.)
Know your network.
At home, use a reputable Internet Service Provider. When away from home, do not use an unknown wireless network. Be especially wary of those “Free Public WiFi” wireless networks that appear on your laptop. Often, they are run just to capture data.
Even a wired network may not be secure. The best action is to always encrypt your data.
Fire up the firewall.
Use a firewall on your computer. Windows includes a firewall (make sure it is turned on) or you can purchase firewall software from many vendors.
Encrypt your data.
When you must use remote networks and wifi, use a Virual Private Network (VPN). One that is easy to use and inexpensive is HotspotVPN.
Don’t click that link!
Never click on unknown links in emails. If you get an email saying you need to log in to your PayPal account and update information, do not click on a link in the email. Go to PayPal.com and log in to see if you have a message about your account. The same applies to any other email asking you to click on a link and log in.
Check the address bar.
When you go to a site, is the URL correct – www.payapl.com, not paypal.mynet.com, for example. Before entering personal data, check for https (instead of http), letting you know the connection is secure.
Look for the lock.
A secure site will also have a key or closed lock in the lower right corner of your browser.
Change the password on your home router.
Have a home network? Most people never change the default password and the network can easily be hacked. “1234″ is not a hard password to guess.
Keep your computer up to date.
Download and install security updates and patches when they are released. Use good anti-virus/anti-spyware software, and update it frequently
For more information and links to resources to keep yourself and your data safe, go to: http://www.IdeaLady.com/article/online_safety