Skip to main content

Protecting Yourself From Cybercriminals … a 5-Step Program


Guest Post by Kate Schneiders

Most homes in America have personal computers connected to cyberspace. The Internet was a great invention … it allows us to communicate with people and businesses across the glove, access educational information, connect with friends and contacts via social media, and even get information on medical issues. Although the Internet can be a great thing, it can also be a very dangerous place to hang out. It’s easy to fall victim to cyber-predators … which is why I’m sharing these 5 tips to help keep you and your kiddos safe in cyberspace.

1. Stay Current

Hackers use malicious software, called malware, to infect your computer and gain access to personal information. So, to help keep your system protected from their attacks, make sure that your antivirus software is up-to-date. With more than 100 new computer viruses being released into the wild every day, current antivirus software is crucial to your Internet safety. Also critical to your safety, is current anti-spam software and updated firewall settings.

2. Beware of Charity Scams

Scam artists love major disasters. With the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, thousands of people are heading to the Internet to see what they can do to help the victims. And, you can bet cybercriminals and other hackers are eager to take advantage of people’s charity for their own gain. So, if you are considering donating to relief efforts, make sure to research the charity before you give them your personal information. Make sure that you are donating to legitimate charities (this charity research tool by the BBB is a great resource.)

Note: Avoid e-mail solicitations for charity money because most of them are scams. If you are contacted by a fraudulent ‘charity’, make sure you report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, BBB or National Center for Disaster Relief.

3. Social Network Safety

Facebook and Twitter are the place to be in cyberspace. I like to think of them as the cyberspace version of the smokin’ hot student body president football star (or for you men out there, the drop-dead gorgeous cheerleading homecoming queen) that you gushed over your sophomore year in high school.

Because so many people are using social networking sites, it’s more important now than ever before to make sure that you are aware of who can access your profile and search for you. Customize the ‘Settings’ or ‘Options’ to block people from searching from you and control who can see what you post. Be smart and don’t post things that you would only tell a close friend. Remember, this is the Internet we are talking about … nothing is really private. Also, make sure that if you use your mobile phone for social networking that no one can gain access to it from your profile. (If you use Facebook and haven’t checked it out lately, you may want to remove your mobile number from the new ‘phonebook’ app they’ve created.

4. Think Before You Click

Before you start opening attachments or clicking on e-mail links, make sure you take a minute to think about what you are doing. Be wary of clicking links or buttons in popup windows. Check out the website you are visiting and make sure that it’s secure. Sites with addresses that begin with https (‘s’ for secure) with a padlock are safe. However, even if it’s safe, don’t just start handing out your personal information. It’s best to share as little personal information online as possible. Before you share your personal information, make sure the recipient (site or individual) is trustworthy. And, if in doubt, it’s best to error on the side of being overly cautious.

5. Secure Passwords

Make sure that you are using strong passwords that are secure. Passwords are like toothbrushes – you shouldn't share them with others and you should get a new one regularly. Don't know how to create a secure password? Microsoft has a page with great tips to help you create strong passwords that you can remember. The best passwords use both upper and lower case letters, numbers and some symbols. Don't use the same password for every log in. Make sure important accounts (like banking or credit cards) have their own secure password. Also, you may want to consider password protecting your wireless Internet connection at home so that people can't hack your network and gain access to your computer.


So, there you have it. Five tips to help you stay safe online. You don't have to be a security expert to keep your computer safe, just try to become web savvy. Take time to research Internet trends, talk with other parents and computer users or read articles about security.

If you want more information about how you can keep your children and computer safe in cyberspace, check out this Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety created by the FBI. It’s got a lot of really great information.

Kate Schneiders is a real technogeek and a self-proclaimed ‘word nerd.’ She has been contributing to blogs and the Internet in general for the past 5 years. In her spare time you can find her crafting, cooking and teaching her technotard husband about antivirus software.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

List Of Common Flowers in Kerala With Pictures

Kerala is one of the famous tourist spot situated on the south of India famous for its numerous wild life and thick vegetation. Like the Himalayan ranges on the north of India,

PC Mysteries: Answers to these tech questions

The PC world has grown into gigantic proportions. Computers have evolved at a lightning pace and have developed into super-fast and highly-intelligent machines. And yet, the average user is confounded and confused by so many things that keep happening on a daily basis with his/her PC. That is totally understandable given the fact that everyone making use of the PC is not a techie or a geek. However, the answers to these so-called techie mysteries are quite simple and straight-forward. Here is a brief compilation of the most sought-after mysteries and questions with their solutions.

1. Why does a PC making grinding sounds?

Ans: There are many reasons for this and all of them augur bad news! The simplest reason could be the fan in the CPU is spinning off the kilter. The most common reason is that your hard drive is about to die. It would be good to back-up your drives immediately when you hear these sounds.

2. Why are some programs already running when the PC is started?

Ans: When you boo…

Two of The Best Parodied Mac Commercials of All Time

They say you’ll be able to measure your fame when people start imitating you or making a fool out of you.

Let’s take Justin Bieber for example. Bieber, a Canadian teen star made famous by Usher and YouTube, has been mocked and targeted by Internet critics and bloggers all over the world. He’s been victimized everywhere, from YouTube (where millions of parody videos of his music videos are uploaded and viewed every day), to television (with shows like South Park and Saturday Night Live among others), to online blogs and forum sites (where you can find thousands of posters and photos about him). Everyone has something bad to say about Justin Bieber and I’d rather be selling laptops online than counting off all the “Bieber is gay” posters on Google images. But despite all the mockery, Bieber even takes the time to thank everyone for making him more famous by saying: “So I wake up today to almost 15 million on Facebook, over a billion views on YouTube and 6 million of the greatest fans on…

Smart Spy Application for Smartphones

It is a fact that nowadays smartphones have become the perfect medium for abusing, threatening, sending adult messages, exchanging company secrets, and hacking confidential data. So, in case you suspect that your child, spouse, employee, or a colleague has become a victim of any of these threats; there is a silent solution to help them! With the advanced technology for mobile security, you too can become a detective or an investigator just like an FBI or CID agent to keep a non-stop eye on the target smartphone irrespective of yours and device’s location. In this article, you will be introduced to a smart spy application with which you can easily become a remote detective.

Introduction to the Smart Spy App

It is Mobile Spy, the next generation spy program that allows you to track the smartphone of a suspected kid, spouse, or employee to record any evidence of abuse or threat. The app monitors SMSs, calls, photos, videos, GPS location, emails, sites, and contacts list.

All you have to …