With technological advances being made on a constant basis, criminals have a rapidly expanding playground in which to perpetrate misdeeds. Compromised financial information, identity theft and email fraud are just a few of the cyber crimes for which every computer user is at risk. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling prey to the schemes of crafty cyber criminals.
Install Security Software
With cyber crime on the rise, no computer should be without reliable security software. Not only can the right software protect your PC from malware and viruses, it can make the computer impervious to hacker attacks. To provide customers with maximum protection, many security software manufacturers offer automatic updates free of charge. For added protection, most companies send subscribers regular email reports about advances in cyber crime, enabling customers to stay current with the latest threats.Since many viruses and malware infections are contracted by visiting certain sites, most security software will warn you whenever you attempt to open a potentially-infectious webpage.
Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts
Between email, social networking and shopping, the average person has a fair number of online accounts. While using the same password for each account makes things easier for you, it also enables cyber criminals to hack all your accounts in one fell swoop. For this reason, it is imperative that you create unique passwords for each of your online accounts. If you think you’ll have trouble remembering all the different passwords, write them all down on a note-card and store it in a safe place. Recording the passwords in a digital text document can prove disastrous if a hacker finds his way onto your computer.
Don’t Allow Websites to Keep Your Credit Card Info
If you do a lot of online shopping, allowing retailers to keep your credit card information on file can help expedite the checkout process. However, this convenience comes at a price. By enabling your credit card info to be stored in a retailer’s databanks, you significantly increase the chances of that information being compromised. As evidenced by large-scale hacker attacks in 2013, even large corporations like Sony and Targets aren’t impervious to mass data breaches. So when it comes to credit card security, keep in mind that safety trumps convenience.
Being selective about the links you click on is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself safe online. To this end, never click on links featured in emails from senders you don’t recognize. Furthermore, since popup ads are one of the leading causes of malware infection, make a point of ignoring them entirely. With the rise of social networking, online troublemakers have taken to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, where they frequently send malware-laden links to unsuspecting users. So if you receive a random link from a user you don’t recognize, don’t hesitate to block the user and report him to the site’s security team.
As the Department of Homeland Security reports, with each new technologicaladvancement comes advancement in the world of cyber crime. By taking a few simple measures to secure your online information and exercising caution when visiting unfamiliar websites, you can cruise the worldwide web with peace of mind.