Safer Internet Day Prompts Vital Security Tips for Consumers

Posted on February 5, 2013

To a lot of people, February 5 might not mean anything.  But all around the world, safety tips are being offered as part of Safer Internet Day.  We like to provide consumers with tips of all sorts, but sometimes safety doesn’t solely reside in the physical realm.  There are also numerous steps you can take to protect yourself and your family in the digital world as well.  Here then are a few tips as offered by McAfee and Google representatives in a new report.

First, make sure that your various devices are properly secured.  For desktop computers and laptops, that means getting antivirus and spyware software and staying on top of the latest updates issued for that technology.  Set your computer up with a password, and then take that same security-minded thinking and apply it to your phone.  Get antivirus software similar to what’s available on your desktop computer and create a password that can’t easily be hacked.

When we say a great password, we don’t mean the name of your pet.  Personal identification signifiers like names of pets or your high school mascot are the easiest passwords to guess.  The security of such passwords is not nearly as high as you might think it is.  Therefore, use some combination of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, and symbols to strengthen your password.  It might seem like overkill, but it’s the best way to protect your accounts.

You also don’t want to use one password for every email address, social profile, and online shopping account you log into.  If you do, then if the security of just one site is compromised, hackers and scammers suddenly have access to every single one of your accounts through that one password they hold.  Differentiate every password and keep track of it with software designed to allow such management.

Also be careful when it comes to wireless internet.  Just because it’s in your home doesn’t mean you’re the only one with access to it.  Set up a strong password using the above advice and then change the name of the network to make things even tougher for those looking to take advantage.  If you like to take your phone or computer to a coffee shop or somewhere else with wireless access, be wary about accessing particularly sensitive accounts or sending important identification information at such venues.

Finally, know how to stay safe while shopping online.  If an email offer sounds too good to be true and you’re not sure of the source, simply don’t click the link.  It could be a feint to gain access to your computer.  And when you do shop online, stick with reputable sites you know you can trust.  Https should be included at the beginning of every secure site’s web address, and you should never send sensitive information to online outlets you can’t trust.

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