The Internet is essential for both business and pleasure. The technology that makes it easier to work online is improving, so do the techniques used by Internet criminals. Although some online crimes are intended to make your life difficult by causing damage to your computer, identity theft remains a primary focus of most Internet thieves. Computers can also be vulnerable to spyware, viruses, and phishing programs due to Internet misuse. Although you might think wealthy or high-profile individuals are common targets, hackers will seek out any opportunity to steal your identity. Unprotected computers are the easiest target. Your computer contains all your financial and private information. Proper security is essential to ensure your computer and files are safe.
1. Activate protection systems.
If your operating system has a firewall, spam-blocker, antivirus software, or other security applications, make sure it is activated. You may also have an email spam filtering option that your Internet service provider offers.
2. Upgrade your protection.
If your security software is not up-to-date, it won’t be of any benefit. Make sure you’re using the most recent versions of anti-spyware, virus detection software, and spam programs. You will be able to deal with the latest online threats using the most recent software. Remember to renew your subscriptions if you lose your software registration.
3. Antivirus software is recommended.
Antivirus software should be installed on every computer. Antivirus software scans all files downloaded via email and opened from your hard drive to ensure they are free from malware. These programs can detect and destroy viruses so that they don’t infect your computer.
4. Anti-spyware software is recommended.
Antivirus programs also require spyware protection. These programs scan your computer to find spyware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. There are both free and paid anti-spyware software.
5. Automatically update.
Your operating system and security software should be set to automatically update. Your virus-detection program must adapt to new threats. Automatic updates are a great way to ensure you have the best protection possible.
6. Secure browsers are recommended.
You should upgrade your browser to the latest version. Updated browsers come with built-in security features that can detect the latest online threats.
7. Block pop-ups.
Your Internet browser should be configured to block advertisements and pop-ups on websites. This will reduce spyware and decrease the chance of you clicking on an ad that installs malware.
8. Install a security toolbar.
Security features are added to toolbars that offer additional protection. Many feature pop-up protection, spam blocking, and other security features. Some can even detect consumer scams.
9. Register for User Accounts.
You can create a separate user account from the default administrator account. When making changes to the computer’s configuration, only log in as administrator. Hacking is more difficult when the administrator account is not used often. It may be a good idea to create an individual user account that each member of your family uses. This will enable each individual to keep their information private.
10. Your computer should be turned off.
If you’re not using your computer regularly, turn off the Internet. The likelihood of a malicious source being able to access your computer’s data decreases if it is not used as often.
11. Lock your computer if you step away.
A hacker can steal or destroy your information if you only take a short break from your computer. Your computer session can be locked by using a password to protect it until you return. This prevents others from accessing your data physically.
12. Public computers should be avoided.
Avoid using public computers in libraries, hotels, and airports to conduct personal banking transactions. The online activity could be intercepted and strangers could see your activities and remember passwords.
13. Take a look at Apple computers.
Windows computers are more common than ever, so most viruses and spyware are designed to infiltrate Windows software. Although spam and phishing problems are still a problem for Mac users, the likelihood of a virus attack is significantly lower.
14. Avoid downloading.
There are many free downloads available on the Internet. The thousands of software, games, and utility programs that are available are extremely useful. Many of these freebies contain spyware and malware. Make sure you only download programs from trusted sites and manufacturers.
15. A security suite is worth considering.
A security software suite can be purchased if your operating system does not have security features or needs extra protection.
16. Make sure you have antivirus software installed.
Your computer will not be protected by antivirus software just because it has it. You should regularly scan your computer for viruses or schedule the software to run automatic scans at a specific time each day.
17. Double your spyware protection.
Spyware is difficult to detect. It’s worth having two programs to scan for it. You can use one program to monitor the entire system, while the other program will scan the computer periodically to make sure that the program is not missing any suspicious activity.
18. Use disposable email addresses.
For different purposes, create separate email addresses. Register for sites and complete surveys that could lead to increased spam using this disposable email account. If you find the spam overwhelming, close the account. You can keep junk mail from your regular email account, but you can still use your regular address for personal or business communication.
19. Credit cards are an option.
Credit cards provide greater protection when shopping online than debit cards and other payment options. Credit cards issued by banks offer greater protection against fraud than debit cards or checking accounts.
20. Online purchases can be made with one credit card.
It will be easier for identity theft or misuse to be detected if only one card is used to make online transactions. If your card number is stolen, you will experience less damage if you use a single card.
21. Do not save passwords.
While saved passwords or site default settings may be helpful, any account information that you have saved can be accessed by an attacker. You should limit the number of credit card numbers and addresses that you have saved.
22. You should look for evidence that the site you are accessing is secure.
Ensure on your browser window that the website you visit has https:// prefixes or padlock before entering personal information. This indicates that the Web site has been secured and all data sent is encrypted.
23. Make sure the website has SSL certificate.
While the padlock symbol and prefix https:// are excellent indicators of transmission security, they do not indicate reputation. Look out for the Better Business Bureau logo and other positive affiliations to ensure that you only shop with or do business in reputable businesses. You can also read online reviews to see what others have said about the company.
24. Protect your personal information.
If you don’t know the sender or expect the email to arrive, do not reply to emails asking for personal information such as passwords and Social Security numbers. Verify the phone number before you respond to an email asking for personal information.
25. Avoid clicking on hyperlinks.
Hyperlinks in email messages may be misleading as they can show one address, but the link could take you to another. Be sure to verify the address at the bottom of any emails and Web pages before clicking on them.
26. Take care when you type.
Online criminals frequently create Web sites that look identical to other sites and use the URL of the original site in common misspellings. Make sure you type accurately or bookmark your favorite sites.
27. Report phishing.
Phishing is when emails appear legitimate and ask for personal information. If you receive a phishing email, forward it to the appropriate bureaus, including the Anti-Phishing Working Group (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (email@example.com).
28. Reexamine your accounts.
Examine your bank and credit card statements to identify suspicious transactions. These can often be a sign of identity theft. These situations should be reported to your bank immediately.
29. The golden rule.
The Internet offers many benefits. As in real life, you must be respectful, safe, and responsible towards others. Respect any laws or rules that may apply to your online activity.
30. Do not open unknown email messages.
Unknown senders should be deleted. Be aware of attachments in email, and don’t download any attachments you aren’t sure about. Don’t forward unidentified attachments to anyone else.
31. Create strong, private passwords.
Use a password that is difficult to guess by others. Avoid using obvious passwords such as a name or birthdate. You should use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols for your password. Do not share it with anyone.
32. Firewall protection is recommended.
To prevent hackers from accessing your computer, install firewalls. This will protect your computer from hackers and prevent the theft of personal information. Depending on your network requirements, you can choose between an external firewall or a software firewall.
33. Be careful on file-sharing platforms.
File-sharing can let a stranger view files on your computer or allow them to infect it with a virus. To avoid these risks, learn more about file sharing and how to disable file sharing in your operating system. Make sure you do not start a file-sharing program already installed on your computer when you turn it on.
34. Keep your files backed up regularly.
Create a backup copy of your hard drive on an external media device. Although it does not provide protection, the act of creating a backup copy is an insurance policy that everything will not be lost in case of a computer security incident.
35 You can protect yourself from power outages.
To protect your computer from sudden power outages, use surge protectors and power strips. To prevent data loss, unplug your computer and turn off the power supply during a storm.
36 Review security settings.
To ensure that your computer is operating properly, you should review the security settings and programs at least twice a year. Any programs that are outdated or damaged should be replaced. This process should be repeated for all computers within your home.
37. Close programs that are not being used.
You can waste valuable memory space by not using programs. They are a waste of resources and seldom-used programs may not be updated with security patches that could prevent hackers from accessing your computer.
38. Be cautious with email attachments.
Never open an email attachment from strangers unless your antivirus and security software has confirmed that they are safe. Any attachments in spam or junk mail should be deleted immediately.
39. Certain attachments should not be opened.
Viruses often arrive in email attachments. No matter who the file is from, it’s best to avoid opening any file with an extension of.exe.pif or.bat. These files are almost always dangerous.
40. Do not click on pop-ups.
Pop-ups used by malicious websites look very similar to those your operating system might use to warn you of a security threat to your computer. These pop-ups are designed to convince you to click the ad. If you click the ad, spyware or malware is usually installed on your computer. Click on the X at the top right corner to close these ads.
41. Make sure your anti-spyware software is legitimate.
Reputable manufacturers only sell anti-spyware software. Some products that claim to be free of spyware can install spyware on your computer.
42. Review software license agreement.
Review the license agreement before installing any downloaded software. Many free downloads include spyware and other programs you do not want on your computer. You can find them by carefully reading the agreement.
43. Be wary of pop-ups.
Pop-ups on pornographic websites are the most common way that spyware is spread. Adware and spyware are also distributed via pop-ups from online gambling sites.
44. Do not use pirated software.
Pirated software is illegal and often distributed on sites with malware. This warning applies to all software, crack key generators, and pirated movies or music. Sometimes, unlicensed software can cause problems with patches and be more vulnerable to viruses. You may find viruses that were installed before you get it.
45. Run online virus scans.
You should run an antivirus scan on your computer now and again. This will ensure that you are not infected by any software not installed on your computer. One program might find something the other doesn’t.
46. Visit Windows Update.
Windows Update is recommended for Windows users. This site will scan your computer to find any patches or updates that have not been installed. It will then create a list with recommended updates for your computer. To keep your computer safe, download any item marked as critical.
47. Password Protect and Encrypt Sensitive Files.
You may also want to protect the entire computer by using passwords or encryption for files and folders that contain confidential data.
48. See Apple Security Updates.
You can check the Apple Security Site to see if there are any updates for your Mac.
49. Protect your identity.
An online criminal only needs personal information to steal your identity. Limit the amount of information you share online to protect your social security number, birth date, credit card numbers, and address.
50. Protect your kids.
Internet activity poses unique risks to children. You can monitor your children’s online activity and use parental filters and other tools to help protect them from security threats.
51. Pay attention to browser notifications or prompts.
52. Pay attention to the information on USB flash drives.
Although portable USB drives make it easy to store data, they are small and easily lost. In case of theft or loss, you might want to encrypt the data on these USB drives. Do not connect a USB drive that you have found from someone else. Instead, hand it in over to the authorities.
53. Keep track of all sites visited.
Keep track of all sites visited by your children to help you spot potential spyware and other dangers. Children should not be allowed to register on Web sites without their permission.
54. A spam filter is recommended.
These features can be used if your email program distinguishes junk mail from spam. This will prevent scams and malicious messages from being sent to your email program.
55. Be cautious of unusual messages.
Hackers and viruses that can infect your emails may be sent from known senders. Be aware of strange emails, even though you know the sender. Strange messages can include attachments that have strange file extensions or inconsistent words in the message body. These messages should be treated as if unknown senders sent them.
56. Change passwords regularly.
Regularly changing passwords can help you prevent criminals from accessing your personal data. Change your password every 90 days. If you believe there has been a security breach, change your password.
57. Keep informed. Register for the National Cyber Alert System at http://us-cert.gov
These updates will provide you with current information on Internet security issues. It is essential to understand the risks to protect your computer systems at home and work.
58. Chat and instant messaging are not to be trusted.
Be sure to only communicate with the people you intend to communicate with before you divulge any personal information via chat or IM messages. You may wish to create a password to identify an online friend.
59. Forward spoof email to verify.
Phishing emails claim to come from PayPal, eBay, or a familiar company. If you are not sure if the email is valid, send it to the company’s customer support department from which it claims to be. They will confirm if it is true.
60. Register for a Web page only.
While the name and email address are the most common requirements for site registrations, others require additional information such as address and phone number. It is essential to be careful about which sites you provide the information. Only complete the fields that are required, which is often indicated with an asterisk.
61. Make sure you are safe when meeting up in person with an online friend.
You can meet up in person with an online friend only if you are interested and have checked out all details to ensure they are who they claim to be.
62 Protect your friends’ eMail addresses.
Avoid sharing the email addresses with spammers and spyware distributors by not using the “recommend friends” function on a website unless you’re confident that it is trustworthy.
63. Spam messages should be marked.
Although an email spam filter can catch most spam and other junk mail messages, some may still be delivered. Your email service can be trained to recognize junk mail by marking junk mail messages as spam. In the future, the email service can direct similar messages to spam.
64. Please read the fine print.
Check the terms and conditions of any site that you sign up for. Many sites have a checkbox that allows you to opt-in or out of receiving updates and offers by sponsors. You should not leave this box unchecked, or you might end up with lots of spam and junk mail. Reputable sites will include a statement explaining that they don’t sell or share your email address with other companies.
65. Share with others only what you trust.
You shouldn’t post anything online that you wouldn’t tell someone you have never met. This is particularly important when using social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Don’t give out your addresses or the full names of those you share it with. A stranger could show up at your home if you give too much information.
66. Be cautious with Out-Of Office responses.
A response from the automated system explaining that you cannot check your email while on vacation is helpful. However, it can also be used as an advertisement for your absence from your computer or home. Modify the Out-Of-Office response settings to ensure that the response is only sent out to current members of your email address book. Do not be specific about where you are or why you won’t be checking your email. Keep the message short and secure.
67. Find out who is watching.
Your work emails and Internet activities should be monitored. In the majority of the United States, all activity on a work computer belongs to the employer. The inappropriate activity could result in work-related disciplinary action. You could also end up disclosing personal information to strangers at the place you work.
68. Public WiFi access is a danger.
Use public wireless connections to avoid sending or viewing confidential information. Wireless users located in the same area could view your network activity and monitor what you do.
69. Reduce the chances of your mobile device being stolen.
Publicly displaying a laptop is not a good idea. To add security, you might consider a non-traditional case for your laptop and an alarm/lock.
70. Secure sites should always be logged out off.
Log off after you have completed using online banking or any other password-protected sites. Close the browser window. This will ensure that your session is closed and the information cannot be viewed by anyone else. This is particularly important if you’re using public computers.
71. Clear your cookies often.
Cookies are the way Web sites store personal data. However, some cookies can be harmful, and some companies may sell your personal information to others for marketing purposes. Unneeded cookies can be deleted through the Internet Options section of your browser.
72. Secure mobile connections.
Make sure your webmail has the https:// prefix when you use WiFi hot spots, Internet cafes, or Internet cafes. Be aware of others around you who might be watching you type passwords and other personal information.
73. Secure your home wireless connection.
You should password-protect your WiFi connection at home so that no one can gain access to it, even if they’re within signal range.
74. Physical security is essential.
Your computer is vulnerable to theft, and all the security measures in the world won’t protect it. When you travel, keep your laptop visible. Consider locking your laptop’s door if you aren’t there to access the private computer.
75. Security cues to be aware of.
Secure sites should change the http:// prefix from http:// to https:// or to shttp:// when you are asked to enter a username and password.
76. Check your credit reports.
Every consumer has the right to receive a free copy each year of their credit report. Annually, order copies of your credit report from each reporting bureau and examine them for incorrect information. Any errors should be corrected immediately.
77. Separate computers can be used for personal and professional use.
Stop surfing the Internet on the computer you use to shop or bank online. This will reduce the number of spyware, cookies and monitoring, and the risk of identity theft.
78. Cyberstalking is a serious problem.
Cyberstalking refers to online harassment, including threatening emails, identity assumptions, and online defamation. Your Internet service provider should be capable of helping you find the perpetrator if you suspect you have been a victim of cyberstalking.
79. Use privacy settings on social networking sites to stay safe.
To protect your personal information, use the privacy settings of social networking sites. You can make information such as your phone number, email address, and last name invisible to everyone except those you trust and know. You should not allow the site automatically to accept friend requests. Instead, approve each request individually.
80. Keep confidential information out of chatrooms.
Chat services can archive chat conversations even if you’re talking to someone in a private chatroom. Anyone can access archived conversations at any time. You don’t have control over what happens to archived conversations, even if you think everything is safe.
81. Take care.
You should be cautious about what sites you visit. If a site appears suspicious, close your browser. Many Websites can track information about your computer, such as your IP address and software used, to market their products. Although this information collection from trusted sites isn’t necessarily harmful, sites that appear less legit can use it for malicious activity.
82. Change WiFi administrator passwords.
WiFi routers usually come with a username and password that can be used to set up equipment. This information, although password-protected, isn’t specific to an individual and therefore easily accessed by hackers. Once your wireless network has been set up, change the username and password.
83. Enable WPA/WEP encryption.
All WiFi equipment can use encryption to protect data sent over wireless networks. Select the strongest encryption option that is compatible with your network. This may mean that all WiFi devices you use with your family members must be synchronized.
84. Modify the default SSID name.
WiFi routers and access points use the same network name, the SSID. Routers also often have a default name SSID. Although it does not make your wireless network less vulnerable to threats, it can indicate to others that it is insecure and makes it more likely to be targeted. When configuring wireless security, you should immediately change the default SSID name.
85. Lockdown access by using mac address.
Every WiFi component is assigned a unique identifier called MAC address. Access points and routers track all MAC addresses of connected devices. Many products allow their owners to enter the MAC addresses for their equipment so that the network only allows connection from approved devices.
86. Disable SSID broadcast.
Access points and routers broadcast the SSID name regularly. Although this function was initially intended for roaming, it is no longer necessary when a wireless network in the home is being used. You can disable the broadcast to prevent others from seeing your network.
87. Disable WiFi auto-connect.
Many computers come with a setting that allows them to connect to any wireless network. This setting can be disabled, and you should always connect to your home network. If you are traveling, the auto-connect can be used to connect to your home network.
88. Wireless devices can be assigned fixed IP addresses.
You can turn off DHCP to assign a static IP address for your computer. Although DHCP is simpler to set up, hackers can also find IP addresses and intercept them. To ensure that the IP address is secure from being accessed via the Internet, use a private range.
89. Turn on router firewall.
You should also ensure that your router’s firewall has been turned on. This will provide additional protection for your wireless home network.
90. Place the router in a suitable position.
WiFi signals from the home are designed to be used inside the home. Some signal can leak outside, so be aware of how far it reaches. The location of the router determines the signal strength. To prevent signal from leaking into other neighborhoods or streets, place it in the middle of your home.
91. When your network is not being used, shut it down.
It is not practical to disconnect a wireless network every day, but it is essential to ensure that it is off when you are away on vacation or for extended periods.
92. Third-party payment services.
Use a third-party payment service when shopping online. These services, such as PayPal or Amazon Payments, allow you to transfer money from your bank account to the vendor seamlessly. You don’t have to reveal any of your credit card or bank information to the seller.
93. Beware of email hoaxes.
It’s almost impossible to believe that something is possible if it seems too good to be true. Avoid easy money scams like the promises of winning a lottery or requests to transfer money from abroad. To sign up, these scams often require you to send money or your personal information. These hoaxes are not to be trusted.
94. Be wary of virus hoaxes.
Sometimes, emails containing information about a security threat are intended to cause panic or be malicious. Before you share or act on the information, always verify. Before you do anything, check with McAfee and F-Secure.
95. Avoid Bots.
Chat room members are not always a human behind a keyboard. Chat robots (or bots) are used to moderate chat rooms, provide weather and news updates, and serve as moderators. You can have malicious bots set up to hack into your computer.
96. Smartphones should be used with caution.
You should take the same precautions when using your smartphone in public places as with any other public computer. Avoid using online banking when you are in public places. Strangers may be able to see what you write and could even shoulder-surf. You might also want to disable the feature that automatically connects the phone to any wireless network.
97. Encrypt Internet phones.
Voice over IP (VOIP), which allows voice communication over public internet connections, is subject to eavesdropping. Secure encryption is a key feature of VOIP providers.
98. Delete data from unwanted computers.
Copy all data you want to save before you throw away an old computer. It is not enough to delete files. Before you recycle or donate your computer, use a program that will erase any traces of personal information.
99. Assume permanence.
There is no delete button on the Internet. You have no control over the way information is stored, copied, or archived if you publish or post any information. You should think before you publish anything you might regret later.
100. Use caution when downloading attachments or links from chat messages.
While you may feel comfortable talking with someone in chat rooms, you don’t know their intentions. Do not click on links or open attachments from chat buddies you don’t know. Hackers use this method to distribute malicious content directly.
101. You should know what to do if you notice something wrong.
Stop any online activities that contain usernames, passwords, or other personal information if you suspect malware is infecting your computer. Antivirus software will scan your computer and then delete any suspicious files. If the problem persists, contact a professional technician from a manufacturer or repair shop.
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