The Internet is full of fun, useful and necessary information. It's easy to pay bills, go shopping, keep in touch with family and friends, and manage a majority of life without ever leaving the computer. While all of these things make life easier, they also open users up to fraud, theft and danger. Too many people don't understand the necessity of protecting their digital identity until it's too late.
Don't use the same password for financial accounts that you use for
social and email accounts. It's a pain to remember username and
passwords for several different sites, but it's also essential. This
way, if a social account is hacked, the hacker doesn't gain access to
your banking or credit card accounts.
It's also important to change passwords every few months. Make your
password something difficult to discover. Don't use names of family
members, birth dates or nicknames. The password should contain both
letters and numbers, and it should be at least seven characters long.
The longer the password, the harder it is to guess. If you're using a
public Internet connection never click the save password option. This
will give anyone who uses the computer after you access to your personal
Never click a link sent to you in an email. Even if the email comes from
someone you trust, it's better to type the URL into the address bar.
This is a frequently used hacker trick, and once you click the link, you
are taken to a page that allows them access to your personal
information. Speaking of personal information, never give your social
security number, address or bank information in an email. Reputable
companies will never ask for this information in this way.
Wireless Home Networks
Make sure you set a password on your wireless network. The best option
for home users is WEP security. This allows people approved to access
the network with a password, but prevents outsiders from using it. If a
hacker makes it onto your home network, it's possible for them to access
the attached computers and gain access to your personal information.
Every computer should have virus software that protects from malicious
viruses that broadcast personal information over the Internet. It's also
important to keep your computer up to date. Make sure to apply all
updates from the manufacturer of the operating system. If you do this,
you are better equipped to protect yourself from those who may attempt
to bypass security to access your information.