How To Guard Yourself Online From Security Threats

how to guard yourself online from computer threatsComputer security is something that many of us leave to the Internet Service Providers and technicians. We assume that our data is protected by firewalls and various protocols used in data transmission.

We do not realize that whatever information we send by email or transmit to the Internet may be observed by third parties. Third parties can destroy our businesses or reputations. For that reason, we need to consider the best ways of protecting our computers and Internet data.

Identity thieves appreciate the online world, for it is there that so many people let their guard down and provide personal information. It may not seem like a big deal to post things such as your date of birth, but when it falls into the hands of a criminal, it can quickly become a big deal. Here are tips to help you guard yourself online:

Conduct Business With Reputable Sources Only
When shopping online, you usually need to provide your name, address, and a credit card number to make purchases. Make sure the site has a SSL certificate.

You will see a HTTPS in the address bar, instead of http, along with a padlock symbol. Https stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and shows that information you provide on the page is secure. Never provide credit card numbers to a website page lacking this important security feature.

If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a business, check them with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has a website, and there you can enter the name or URL of a business to conduct a search.

If you do not find negative data about the business, however, this does not mean the business is fine. It could just mean that no one has reported them yet. When in doubt, follow your gut.

Keep Your Personal Data Private
There are times when you may need to provide your telephone number or other information online, such as, when you are applying for some online jobs. Keep this information off social networking sites, however, if your site is public.

Would-be identity thieves will gladly collect any information they can about you – do not make it easy for them. There is little reason to provide your full date of birth on a profile anywhere, except on job applications and other official forms. If you want to let others know when your birthday is, provide the month and date but not the year.

Take Password Protection Seriously
The best practical advice is to not use a password that someone could easily guess or that does not contain both letters and numerals. Use strong passwords that are a combination of numbers, letters and symbols.

Beyond that, it’s worth looking into password protection services offered by your browser. For example, Firefox recently began aggressively addressing this issue. The popular hopes their add-on will have the affect of keeping people aware of the importance of password protection. Extra precautions that can be taken include creating a master password that encrypts your saved passwords.

Additionally, people should ensure that their computer is safe and protected from onlookers; have their browsers’ remembered list cleared and set to “do not remember,” or store their password on an encrypted database; and make sure their passwords aren’t remembered on a portable computer.

Browse Safely
Occasionally you may come across a site that contains a virus. Virus protection software, and browsers, or browser ad-on’s, that detect unsecured sites, can prevent your computer from infections, and compromising your privacy. You can find browsers that offer both personalization and safety. Check out Phorm on Bigsight for information regarding safer browsing on the Internet.

Since security is your top priority, you should never leave it to chance. Every computer user should make certain that all personal and business information transmitted to the Internet is protected from both onlookers and hackers.

Guest Blog Contribution by: Becky Wilcox

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