For many of us, our lives revolve around the things we can do on our computer.
- Applying for credit
- Get music and books
- Social activities like FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Lots and lots more!
In every one of these things listed above, we’re required to provide some personal information. Sometimes a little and sometimes everything we’ve got like Full name, SSN, DOB, address. Just think what an identity thief can do to you with this.
10 Tips for Securing Your Computer
There’s always a new bad guy coming up with new ways to get into your personal computer and steal your confidential info. Here’s some steps you NEED to follow to keep safe.
- Install security software and set it to automatically update. It’s no good having a great program to protect you if you let it get out-dated.
- Make strong passwords. Use at least 10 characters and include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, special characters like ‘-‘ or ‘&’. Don’t use your name, your dog’s name or your DOB or street address.
- Set your browser to automatically update. These updates are generally to patch security holes. To do this, go to the menu bar at the top of your browser window, click ‘Help’ and choose the Help option. In the new window you will get, type in ‘automatic updates’ and you’ll get the steps to take to turn it on.
- Make different passwords for all your financial accounts. If one ever got stolen or hacked, the rest will still be safe.
- Your financial information is the same as cash, so treat it like gold. Anytime you are asked to provide a credit card number, Social Security number, bank account number, ask why. Also ask how it will be protected. Most of the time there’s no real reason why you need to give your SSN so be very careful with it.
- Don’t click on links in emails that are from official looking sources like banks, the IRS, PayPal, Facebook, etc. You never know when they could be phishing attempts. These places won’t ask you for your information because they already have it. If you think you need to check the website, open a new window and type in the URL directly.
- Online shopping deals can be great to find. But if it’s a really good deal and you’ve never heard of that business before, take time to check them out before giving your credit card info. Do a search for ‘company name + complaints‘ or ‘company name + review’ to see what kind of experience others have had with them. You’ll also want to see a physical address and phone number.
- HTTPS:// – before entering any personal information or credit card number, check to make sure the URL in the address bar of every page starts with https://. That ‘s’ stands for secure and info is encrypted before being sent over internet highways.
- Popups saying you have a virus – click here. DON’T click on them. DON’T buy their software. DON’T let them scan your computer. Legit companies do not do this.
- Backup your files to an external hard drive, thumb drive or cd. Store in a safe place. This isn’t so much a security issue as it is one of convenience. Losing all your photos, files and music if your computer dies will really make you have a bad, bad day!
Make it a habit to practice safe computing. The bad guys are always lurking.
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