1. Protect Your Personal
Information. It's Valuable.
theft risk can be minimized when online by not giving out personal
information-your name, email address, account numbers, or Social
Security number-until you know how it's going to be used, and who
you are giving it to. Don't reply or click on any link in an unsolicited
email or pop-up message asking for personal information.
Online. Be careful what personal information you give, and always
make sure vendors have taken measures to secure their sites, indicators
are a lit lock icon on the browser's status bar and a website URL
that begins with "https" (the "s" stands for secure").
2. Know Who You Are Dealing With
out sellers before you buy. Legitimate businesses or individual
sellers should give you a physical address and a working telephone
are unsolicited emails or pop-up messages claiming to be
from businesses or organizations that you might be familiar with,
like a bank or a major retail brand. The message will say that
you need to "update" or "validate" your
account information. Don't take the bait. Don't open unsolicited
or unknown emails, don't download attachments from people you don't
know or don't expect, and never reply to or click links in emails
or popups asking for personal information.
Free Software and
File Sharing. Downloading file sharing software is not advisable
and not worth the risk. Online file-sharing can give people access
to a wealth of information. If you don't check the proper settings
while file sharing, you could allow access to files containing
important personal information Be sure to read the End User License
Agreement too, to make sure you're sharing files legally.
comes with many free downloads. This is software that is
installed without your knowledge that adversely affects your computer,
and may access your personal information. Resist installing any
software unless you know exactly what it is. Install anti-spyware
software and keep it up to date.
Email Attachments and Links.
Many viruses sent over email or Instant Messenger won't
steal your information or damage your computer without your participation.
For example, you would have to open an email or attachment that
includes a virus or a link to a site that is programmed to infect
your computer. Don't open an email attachment unless you are expecting
it or know what it contains.
3. Use Anti-virus Software,
A Firewall, And
Anti-spyware Software To Help Keep Your Computer Safe And Secure.
just common sense. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Software protects your computer from viruses that destroy
data, cause crashes,or even steal your personal information It
works by scanning your computer and incoming email for viruses,
and deleting them. Your anti-virus software must be updated regularly.
Most include automatic update features.
Firewalls help keep hackers
from accessing your computer to gather information without your
permission. Think of it as a guard, watching for intruders. For
firewalls to work, they need to be configured properly and updated
regularly. Some operating systems
come with firewalls, but need to be turned on in order to work.
Software protects your computer from malicious spyware that
monitors your online activities and collects personal information
while you surf the web. It works by periodically scanning your
computer, and then gives you a chance to remove any spyware found.
Just like anti-virus software, it is important to regularly update
your anti-spyware software to protect you from the latest threats.
4. Update Your Operating System.
up your operating system and web browser software properly, and
update them regularly. Hackers take advantage of unsecure browsers
and operating systems. Lessen risk by changing the settings in
your browser or operating system to maximize online security. Also,
it is important to update your operating system with "patches" to
close holes hackers could exploit. Most operating systems can be
set up to automatically update.
5. Use Strong Passwords
Or Strong Authentication Technology To Help Protect Yourself.
may try to figure out your passwords to gain access to your computer.
You can make it tougher for them by using passwords that have at
least eight characters and include numerals and symbols, changing
passwords regularly and using different passwords for each account.
To further increase security of your online identity and sensitive
information, utilize two-factor authentication tools. Two-factor
authentication is a combination of a password or PIN used along
with a token, smart card, or a biometric device. Strong authentication can
also be a behind-the-scenes identity-verification
process, which uses various data to establish whether or not
a user is genuine. Ask your bank, online retailers and ISPs
if they use stronger authentication tools for more secure transactions.
6. I Always Back Up Important Files.
No system is completely secure.
If you have important files on your computer, back them up and
store them in a secure place. Make sure you keep the original software
in the event of a system crash.
7. Learn What To Do
Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if your
computer is infected with malicious code. Be aware of any unusual
computer behaviors. This could be an important sign of infection.
or Computer Viruses. If this happens to you, immediately unplug
your Internet connection from your computer. Next scan your entire
computer with fully updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Fraud-Identity Theft or Phishing. If a scammer takes advantage
of you online in any way, report it to local law enforcement, and
then to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. If you get
a phishing email report it by forwarding the email to
To find out more on what to do if you're a victim of ID theft go
Your Children Online.
Children present unique security risks when
online - not only do you have to keep them safe, but you have to
protect their data on your computer. Simple steps will reduce threats
children face while online. Keep your computer in a central and
open location in your home. Discuss and set guidelines and rules
for computer use. Implement parental control
tools. Teach your children never to give out their personal information
in chatrooms or bulletin boards. If your child is in immediate
danger call your local police.