The Internet is an amazing place, but just like with any public space, people must use caution when they’re visiting in order to stay safe. Cyber criminals lurk around every corner, just waiting to find an opening to steal information, vandalize a computer, or send unwanted advertising.
However, by following these Top 10 security tips, computer users can consider themselves and their computers safer.
- You are your own best security. Having the No. 1 rated Internet security software, anti-virus protection, spam guards, firewalls, and other protections won’t do a bit of good if a computer user ignores warnings from the protection software.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest anti-viral protection. Many companies make it their full-time job to make the Internet a safer place. Having the latest security programs can protect against varying degrees of cyber threats. Because cyber criminals constantly improve their methods, it doesn’t help to have a product from 3 years prior.
- Keep all operating system and Internet browsers updated. The makers of these programs are also joining the fight against malware. Having the most up-to-date programs will help keep the latest threats away.
- Don’t believe everything written in an e-mail. Cyber criminals create infected e-mails meant to tug at heart-strings, inflame passions about politics, and appeal to people’s religions knowing that they will be passed on and on. Joke e-mails are some of the worst offenders for carrying malware.
- Look before you leap. Phishing Web sites and spam e-mails can fool even seasoned computer users into giving up personal information. Any reputable company will never ask for a password or a Social Security number.
- Use strong passwords. Microsoft offers a free test to see if passwords will confound common cyber criminals.
- Keep your information private on Facebook. Even if someone is not your friend, a cyber criminal has a way of seeing what you’ve posted on social networking sites. A good rule of thumb: Never say anything on a social site you would never say out loud in public.
- Teach children about cyber dangers. From an early age, children should be taught about scams, predators, and ways to be safe. It doesn’t have to be a graphic conversation.
- Don’t use a preview window. Preview windows automatically open e-mails and subject a computer to a virus before it can be stopped.
- If it seems fishy, it probably is. Don’t worry about being paranoid with suspicious e-mails and Web sites. Ignore the site or the e-mail to stay safe.