6 Simple Steps Staying Safe and Secure Online
You would think twice before walking down a dark alley at 2AM. But when it comes to online
safety, too many of us do just that. In haste, we don't stop to think about the
seemingly innocent download or double check URLs before making a purchase.
Scammers wait for a weak moment when your guard's down. Every day hackers write
new code and develop new schemes to steal your personal information and money.
But with a little vigilance you can keep yourself and your computer stay safe
and secure using the following tips.
1. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date
Anti-virus software is your best protection against the
worst kind of computer problems ? viruses. While most viruses enter via email or
downloads some can spread through USB disk drives, leading some companies to
disable the port. It's important to keep your anti-virus software current or
enable it to update automatically.
2. Beware of downloading
The fastest, easiest way for hackers to get into your computer is to get you
to install it yourself. It starts out innocent enough. You visit a site to
download a useful new desktop enhancement you've heard about. After poking
around, you determine the site looks legitimate and start your download. What
you don't know is the software you installed also includes a few extra programs
that allow them access to your computer files and passwords or include programs
that watch your activity online. Often hackers will use someone elses software
and add viruses to it, making it hard to tell which software is actually
genuine. If in doubt, conduct more research or ask for professional help before
3. Don't trust email
Email is a way of life, and unfortunately a preferred choice for many increasingly clever scams. Gone are
the days of ungrammatical emails from a Nigerian prince. Todays scams are
well-written and more sophisticated than ever - a friend stranded penniless in a
foreign country, an email for a missed delivery, confirmation of a purchase
never made, work-at-home scams, immediate cash advances, not to mention pleas
from lovelorn ladies. Use common sense. Don't download attachments, click on
links or enter passwords or personal information unless you feel 100 percent
4. Back it up!
Think for a moment about the files you have on your computer: proposals, invoices, spreadsheets, photographs, and years
of work. Now imagine it's all wiped out. It would be impossible to recreate, yet
too many of us do not regularly back up. Whether using external drives or an
automatic online back-up program, it's easy. You may never have to use it, but
if you do, you'll be thankful you did!
5. Different Sites, Different Passwords
Hackers know most of us use the same username and
password for various sites whether they're important sites like your bank or
less important like registration to an online trade publication. After all,
it's a hassle to remember or create a log for all your passwords. Using the same
password, however, significantly weakens your security. If you're not going to
create a different password for every site, at a minimum change it for each site
that has access to your financial data. It can save you a lot of grief down the
6. Log out
Again, it's a hassle, but offers greater protection. When you're done using a site, simply log out. Next time you log in,
you will need to type in your password again, but that can be a good thing
because hackers don't know it. If certain web pages are open, there are specific
types of attacks that can take over and transfer money or wreak havoc on your
system. Fortunately, most browsers can now detect this type of threat, but every
now and then they fail. Logging out gives you that extra layer of protection and
peace of mind.
The internet has become a necessity for conducting
business and everyday life. Unfortunately, the nature of computers and
vulnerability of unsuspecting users make it a prime target for the unscrupulous.
Need advice? Twist OP can help you secure your computer
and your business so you can rest easy. Call or stop by today.