5 ways to secure yourself online

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5 ways to secure yourself online

Securing yourself and your private information on the internet is fast becoming a very hard thing to do.
This is especially the case if you consider yourself a novice or intermediate level user.
The following tips should help you in securing your computer and personal information on the internet.

1. Anti-Virus Software
Ensure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer.

Anti-virus applications are relatively inexpensive these days so there is no excuse for not having one installed on your PC or Mac – That’s right, Mac users should have an anti-virus installed as well.

If you think you can’t afford to pay for anti-virus then download the free version of AVG anti-virus software at the very least.

2. Software Firewall
Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista and Mac OS X all have a software firewall installed by default.  They are relatively simple firewalls but should provide you with a good level of protection.  Just make sure it’s running!
– Windows XP firewall info
– Windows Vista firewall info
– Mac OS X firewall

3. Don’t always trust what you see
When you are working away and see a message pop-up telling you that you need to download an anti-virus product, or that your security has been compromised or some other security-related problem, it’s hard not to believe it.

Your computer could actually be completely secured, but these messages are put there by the bad guys.  They want to you click on the link provided so they can actually install some malicious software (malware) on your computer and then guess what? – your previously secured computer is now compromised.

So you need to be vigilant.
Make sure you know what anti-virus program you are running, that it updates automatically and you know what it looks like when it prompts you
The same goes for Windows and any other security-related software programs on your computer
If you are not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t click or accept what you see.  If you do this, however, the next step is to ask someone who knows.  And when they fix it for you, make sure you know what they did, and what it looked like so you can do it yourself next time

4. Be stingy with your personal information
It seems everyone these days has a Facebook, Twitter and/or myspace account.  They are great for keeping in contact, sharing photos and having a laugh with your mates.  But once again, vigilance is in order.  Keep your personal information to a minimum.

If you don’t need to add your birthdate to the website, don’t.

The same goes for phone numbers and addresses.

You may have 3 anti-virus programs running on your computer, have it sitting behind a plethora of firewalls and have biometric scanning that would make 007 jealous but what about all your friends on Facebook?

If their account gets compromised, then your personal information is up for grabs.

5. Good passwords, different passwords, change passwords, secret passwords
Passwords are very important to secure your information.
– Choose a password with numbers and letters and special characters that no one will guess
– Make sure your passwords for your different accounts are different.
Don’t use the same password you have for your PayPal account that you use for your Hotmail.
If you have trouble with a lot of passwords use something like SuperGenPass or KeePass to manage your passwords for you
– Change your passwords often.  90 days is good.  60 days is better. 30 days is unrealistic.
– And keep your passwords are secret.  You could have the most secure, random and painfully lengthy password in existence – but it’s useless protection if it’s written on a sticky note, attached to your screen.
Disagree? Questions or have you got some more tips on how to secure yourself online?  Let us know.