Thursday, January 1, 2009, AM | 2 Comments
We all have seen various online viruses, spywares, and trojan malware have increased many folds. It’s a threat we must take care of. We all must be aware of to do the cleanup on a regular basis. The following are steps you can take to protect your identity and data on your desktop as well as laptops.
If you access the Internet frequently and no so frequently, there is a good chance that your PC is attacked by a virus, spam, trojans, worms and other harmful attachments. This can destroy your computer, and even your life. If you have a business, you are out of business for a few hours or may be a day if not longer.
Threat levels range from spam and pop-up windows to identity theft, where the culprit copies and sends your personal documents to other computers – with the bug attached. The easiest way to prevent this from happening: simply download anti-virus or anti-spyware software.
Credit card theft
You bank online, you shop online. This has made life a lot easier. Sometimes, you don’t even think about giving out your personal information. You have to be careful. Anytime you are handing over private information, like a checking or credit card number, double check to make sure the site is encrypted for your protection.
You should talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to encrypt your router as well, if you use one for a network of computers in your home.
Hackers can easily spy on your online business if you don’t take precautions. Also, when creating passwords, make sure they are “strong passwords,” which means you should include both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers.
We all have encountered so many times, junk email, spam and such. Protect yourself against those things. Some pirates have become more clever making e-mail look as if it came from a reputable company such as Bank of America or Amazon.com, or many others.
Usually these fake e-mail messages will ask that you update your account information, but once you log in to do so, your account will be phished. All of your private information and even your money end up being stolen.
But there are steps that you can take to prevent this, including taking a closer look at the sender’s e-mail address. Nine times out of ten, it’s an obvious fake. Besides, a real bank or online store will never e-mail you to verify credit card, banking or social security information.
Chatting with strangers
Chat rooms may be a great place to socialize. At the same, if you don’t know the person, don’t give out your personal information, no matter how much that person tries to convince you.
When offering information about yourself, be very sure about whom you are giving that information to. Your name and address are low risk (when it comes to identity theft), but pieces of info like birth place, mother’s maiden name, and social security numbers can open the door to a whole mess of trouble for you.
If any teenager is reading this, not only will they get information from you, but there have been cases when the worst possible has happened (fatally) as well. So be very careful. Please!
Clean up your hard disk before discarding
Hard disk are mechanical devices. They wear and tear. The heads can go bad as well as the platters. If you get it replaced before tossing aside the old one, make sure you wipe the hard drive clean.
While you may think your documents have been erased and that you’ll be safe, copies and archived versions can still be found throughout the disk, and a good programmer (or hacker) will find them.
Purchase a good “wipe clean” software solution to make sure all of your private info is erased. Deleting your file only erases the name of the file. The data in the file remains on the disk.
Clean out cookies everyday
You probably have used computers at the library – I know I have – or airport, coffee shop or even at your office. Whenever you use a computer, before leaving, clean out all the password and cookies that you have accumulated during that session.
Also, it may not be wise to store passwords and personal information on the machine at those places. Remember to delete your Web history and cookies after each session if you know someone else will use the computer after you.
Precaution at log off time
If you are using computer and it is password protected, always remember to log off, especially from your email. This may sound silly or obvious but quite a lot of people don’t do that. You never know who will use the computer after you.
Usually on public computers, your information is available until you log off, and only then will it be erased. Don’t leave the door open behind you.
In a Nutshell
There are definite ways to protect your identity online. You just have to be always on your toes to constantly take precautions.