The internet is an integral part of our lives. It has also become the primary source of information storage and retrieval, not to mention entertainment. It occupies a large percentage of our daily time. At the same time, it poses many threats to privacy and security – mainly through its anonymity. This anonymity allows all levels of society – from business people to scam artists – to act without fear of consequences for their actions. A simple 5-minute regular checkup of your security can keep you safe from internet threats. Here’s how.
1. Surf Securely
While most people think they are safe when they are online, they are, in fact, not. Hackers break into forums, blog pages, and even emails to obtain personal information about their targets with the sole purpose of accessing their bank accounts or social media profiles for monetary gain. This is made possible by the attempt to hide one’s identity using proxy servers with fake email addresses, which in turn can be easily cracked by hackers using password-trapping software to get access to private information stored on this server.
These servers can be found using a simple program called ProxyLeecher, which can be downloaded from any peer-to-peer network.
To avoid such attacks, do the following:
- Have antivirus and firewall installed on your computer. You can get these from any good software download site.
- Do not download emails with strange subject lines such as ‘Loan application,’ ‘Re: Your bank account information, etc.
- Use proxy servers only when surfing the internet when you don’t want to be traced, such as making online purchases or accessing adult content sites.
2. Activate an Email Account That Isn’t Exposed to Threats
You should make sure that the email address you use online has not been exposed.
To avoid such threats, do the following:
- Apply for a new and secure email account and change anything in your current one. Do this as soon as possible because once your compromised email account becomes exposed to the public, it will be easy for hackers to go after even those with good knowledge of internet security.
- Create another password for each site or service you use. Use a combination of numbers and characters (1234,7890, etc.). Write down these passwords and keep them in a safe place as they may be needed at any time.
- Never give out your password to anyone, no matter how good their credentials sound, because it can lead to you losing all of your personal information.
3. Avoid Dangerous Links or Attachments
Avoid clicking on unknown links sent via email or email attachments. It can connect to a computer program that steals personal information from your computer or takes control of it. To avoid this, do the following:
- Don’t open attachments from strangers, even if they claim to be from a friend. Attachments can contain viruses that transmit all your personal information to a third party, including credit card numbers or other financial details.
- Check the sender’s address and click on any links in emails from unknown sources.
- Don’t click on links in email while at work – you never know what may happen.
4. Update Your Operating System and Software
Keep up with the latest updates for your computer, especially those applicable to security.
At the very least, you should update all your virus and spyware protection as well as your antivirus software to the most recent version.
5. Be Wary of People’s Motives
It’s essential to be cautious when dealing with people you don’t know – even if they sound like they are your friends or colleagues.
Proper security is the best way to avoid these threats. But, even if you do everything right, if someone has gained access to your email account, the scammers may still be able to steal your information. To avoid these threats, do the following:
- Be suspicious when trying to convince you to give up your personal information for free in exchange for something they promise will happen in the future.
- Don’t reveal your mailing address, age, gender, school, or work information.
- Avoid responding to emails from people you don’t know if they request access to your email account.
You may also want to look into various other security measures such as P2P encryption (to encrypt files transferred from one person to another), phishing (real-life fraud) detection, and so on.
What are Other Options for Data Safety Improvement?
Remember that your computer is more of a tool than an actual security device. There are several other reliable data safety improvement options, such as using encryption tools, confidential email services, an encrypted flash drive for necessary information storage, etc. Do not keep all information stored on your computer to be truly safe from hackers and other malicious agents. Keep only the information necessary for day-to-day activities, such as bank account details, social media profiles, and so on.
- You should also consider using a digital “safe” or storage device that you can access online or through a USB cable to access it when online. This will allow you to promptly retrieve important information if something happens to your computer or if you suddenly lose your computer.
- If the device is encrypted with a strong passcode, there will be no breach even if someone obtains access to it outside your house.
The use of these, in addition to the safety tips presented above, will surely help you ensure maximum data safety for your financial and other information.
The internet was never the safe place most people thought it to be. With the massive number of websites, software packages, and applications out there for download, along with the enormous number of computer users worldwide, it is pretty easy for data safety to be an issue. What’s more, is that phishing scams are getting more sophisticated by the minute. However, they can be avoided or minimized using simple safety precautions available to every computer user. Whether you are a private computer user or a company owner, always consider your information as the most valuable asset you have.
- Next, consider reading: How to Protect Kids from Cat Fishers with Social Media Spy App?