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10 Tips To Protect Yourself Online

Follow these 10 best practices to keep your computer and identity safe & secure while you’re online.

From Trojans to malware to phishing scams, hundreds of potential threats lurk online. These threats could easily compromise the security of your computer if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

While achieving good computer security can seem daunting, there’s no need to worry! If you’re cautious and use good judgment, you’ll be able to protect yourself from common online threats. By following these 10 simple steps you are not only protecting yourself, but also the Internet as a whole!

#1: Use antivirus software and keep it up to date

Check for new updates to your antivirus software regularly. Most antivirus programs do this automatically, or can be configured to do so. Learn How To Keep Your Antivirus Program Up To Date.

If you don’t have an antivirus program installed on our computer, you should add it immediately. Check Out How To Get Antivirus Protection Free.

#2: Secure your browser

To ensure optimum browsing safety, disable Javascript for all but the most essential of sites, such as banking sites or eCommerce sites. An added benefit? You’ll be able to eliminate unwanted pop-up ads too. Find Out How To Disable Javascript.

#3: Protect your passwords

Create strong passwords and keep them safe by keeping them out of sight. Learn More About How To Create A Strong Password. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use at least 10 characters—longer passwords are tougher to crack.
  • Mix letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using your name, birth date, or common words.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

#4: Take control of your email

Follow these simple rules to avoid viruses and phishing scams sent through your email:

  • Do not open any files attached from unknown, suspicious, or untrustworthy sources. Also, don’t open any emails if the subject line is questionable.
  • Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a friend or someone you know. Most worms and virus-laden spam will spoof a sender’s name.
  • Delete chain emails and junk email. Do not forward or reply to any of them.

#5: Treat IM suspiciously

Instant Messaging (IM) is a frequent target for viruses and spam. Treat it just as you would email. You can also block suspicious usernames and alert your messaging client to their actions.

#6: Keep abreast of Internet scams

Don’t get fooled by emails telling sad stories, making unsolicited job offers, or promising lotto winnings. Likewise, beware of email masquerading as a security concern from your bank or other eCommerce site.

#7: Install security patches

Check for and apply updates for all software you use at least monthly. Vulnerabilities in software are constantly being discovered, and software developers will create updates to protect their product and their users.

#8: Use a firewall

No Internet connection is safe without one. Firewalls are necessary even if you have a dial-up connection. It only takes a few minutes for a non-firewalled computer to be infected. Learn How To Set Up Your Firewall.

#9: Back-up your files on a regular basis

If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your back-up copy in a separate location from your work files, like a flash drive or external hard drive. Find Out How To Back-Up Your Files.

#10: Always exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet

Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an antivirus program checks the files on the site before downloading to your computer.

Remember: If a virus or malware does somehow infect your computer, don’t worry. Chances are, you can easily remedy the situation. Learn How To Remove Viruses Safely From Your Computer.