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Ways To Protect Yourself Online

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Smartmom
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When surfing online there are many things you can do to protect yourself. Here are just a FEW of the things you can do:

Checking the "Keep me signed in" box on public PCs

  • NEVER, ever, check the "keep me signed in" box if you're not using your personal laptop or home desktop
  • Be careful with work computers. Your office PC might feel "yours" but others can easily snoop when you're away from your desk. They could do something as simple as forward all your messages to their own private email account
  • If you just signed IN to Google, eBay, AmazonAmazon or other site from a public PC, make sure to sign OFF once you're done
  • Delete your browser history from the browser tools when completed to protect your privacy
  • Using your browser's privacy mode while browsing prevents information such as the websites you visited from being stored. Internet Explorer 8 calls it "InPrivate Browsing" and Google Chrome calls it a "New incognito window"
  • Never save passwords even when prompted to do so by your browser because someone else using your computer later would have access to your accounts

Failing to update Microsoft Windows OS /Java / Adobe Reader / Adobe Flash

  • Java / Adobe Reader / Adobe Flash are responsible for an astounding number of PC infections due to security exploits. The best way to avoid becoming a target is to update all three pieces of software as often as you can. Flash will prompt you automatically, but you can tell Java to search for updates daily, instead of bi-monthly. Sign in for automatic updates with Adobe Reader as well
  • Make sure to update your windows operating system. One way to do this is to set your windows updates to install automatically. This will reduce your exposure to hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the windows operating system

Searching for celebrity gossip, incriminating material (i.e. sex tapes)

  • This one is a no-brainer. Always be cautious while accessing this material. MalwareMalwarebytes Anti-virus / Anti-malware authors know that people naturally gravitate towards the sex/celebrity combo, so new attacks are targeted specifically towards this crowd

Using BitTorrent to download copyrighted software/film/TV shows

  • Do not download pirated material Smile

Searching for free porn

  • Like everything else "free" on the Internet, free adult content might turn out to be quite expensive. Free porn sites can be downright shady in the way they treat users. That's what makes them ideal targets for bad guys

Online gaming (free to play, social games on Facebook and beyond)

  • Be careful when downloading free to play (F2P) clients. If the client software is malicious – or quality assurance happens to be spotty – you could be putting your PC at risk
  • Don't give out your login information to strangers. In fact, don't give out ANY kind of information, personal or not, to people you meet gaming. At the very least, you could have your virtual items stolen. At worst, you could lose real money
  • Avoid falling for the old "FarmVille Secrets" scam. You will either download a Trojan or expose your Facebook login info to criminals

Leaving Facebook privacy settings wide open, therefore exposing personal info to all

  • Carefully review your privacy settings on Facebook. Err on the side of caution – don't let "friends of friends" see your birthday, cell phone number, etc. All of these could be used in an attempt to impersonate you to credit cards, credit unions, etc
  • Only friends should have access to the more personal layer of information we all have. So choose your friends wisely – "serial friending" would expose you just as well

Connecting to unknown wireless networks

  • In public places, like airports and hotels, be careful about logging into unknown (private) wireless networks. In a hotel for instance, be sure you choose the official one, not another in the neighborhood. Bad guys can eavesdrop as you use your computer, "imitating" a real, safe environment

Using the same password for every single online account

  • It's hard work to remember several different passwords, so no wonder some use the same password over and over again. But if that one password leaks out to cybercriminals, your entire online life is suddenly open to the world
  • Keep different passwords for different purposes. Keep email and social media passwords separate, for example
  • Certain browsers can also help with a "master password" that keeps a multitude of passwords in check. So even if you have different passwords for different services, you only have to remember the master password Using a tool (Roboform or Password Vault) for this purpose that encrypts password information and uses best practices to generate passwords is an even better idea

Trying to get a free iPad, playstation 3 or similar gadgets (scams/phishing)

  • Oldie but goodie: there's no such thing as a free lunch
  • If an online offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is
  • Avoid any kind of giveaway that's not supported in a big way by a known brand, even if it happens to be an online brand (like Zappos, for example)
  • Keep a security suite fully updated, since most of them can catch phishing attempts resulting from this kind of scam

Those above came from Gizmodo. I think there are also some other things that you need to do to keep your online experience safe.

  1. Make sure you have a anti-virus. Even if you can't afford one there are some good FREE ones out there such as AVG and Avast! to name a few.
  2. If you don't do auto updates then remember Tuesday is the normal day that Microsoft does any patches so make sure you check and update any critical updates.
  3. When sending out emails to masses make sure you put their email addresses in the BCC area and be kind and remove the email addys from prior. It helps cut back on the spammers.
  4. When posting your email online (in a open site such as a forum) it is better to post like this: XXXX[at]gmail[dot]com then to post it like XXXX@gmail.com because it will be snagged and used for spam. Side note: posting emails is not allowed here on GD for this reason (use the private messaging)
  5. Get off the IE band wagon and try one of the other browsers out like Firefox or Chrome, check out and use the one add-on called AdBlock Plus. While your at it check out our list of tracker blockers: How To Block Trackers (MySpace, FaceBook, Etc.)
  6. When using Public WiFi here is a great Firefox addon that was published by EFF that really does help protect you: Encrypt the Web with the HTTPS Everywhere Firefox Extension
  7. When clicking on a link in a email hover over the link to make sure its really where you are going. It is really easy to say go here and update your online banking information and make it look like a real web address only to send them to a phishing site that will trick you. Personally I advise if you are told to go to your banks website that you DON'T click the links inside the email but open a new browser tab and go to it yourself (type in the address).

There are tons more things that you can do to keep your online experience safer, for more detailed information on many of the above topics, visit some of the related links below or use our Search at the top right of the page. Also, if you know of any other useful tips, please post them for others to benefit from ....

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