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10 Tips to Stay Safe Online

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Hang ten, dude! It’s summertime and surfers are taking to the ocean to go catch some gnarly waves. Experienced surfers know that there are dangers out in the water and are trained to look out for them. These dangers include rip currents, shallow water, and of course, sharks.

Just like there are dangers in the ocean, there are many dangers lurking on the Internet. And a savvy web surfer and searcher knows that there’s ways to protect themselves. Here are some tips to keep you safe while you surf the internet.

  1. Know the scams. Read articles and blogs, follow the news, and share this so you can learn about different kinds of scams and what you can do to avoid them and also help your friends.
  2. Think before you click. Never click on links in messages from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information or download malware to your computer. You should even be wary with emails from people you do know if it looks or sounds suspicious. Hackers can create a malicious email that looks like it came from your best friend’s email account.
  3. Safely peruse. Beware of phony websites. These sites may have an address that’s very similar to a legitimate site, but the page can have misspellings, bad grammar or low resolution images. However, scammers are getting better at replicating sites so make sure. If a site asks for personal information, that you double check the URL and make sure it’s not asking for information it shouldn’t. McAfee SiteAdvisor is a free download and protects you from going to risky sites
  4. Shop safely. Don’t shop on a site unless it has the “https” and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL. Also, protect yourself and use a credit card instead of a debit card while shopping online—a credit card company is more likely to reimburse you for fraudulent charges.
  5. Kick-butt passwords. Do away with the “Fitguy1982” password and use an extremely uncrackable one like 9&4yiw2pyqx#. Phrases are good too. Regularly change passwords and don’t use the same passwords for critical accounts. For more tips on how to create strong passwords, go to www.passwordday.org
  6. Protect your info. Keep your guard up. Back up all of your data on your computer, smartphone and tablet in the event of loss, theft or a crash. Also, routinely check your various financial statements for questionable activity.
  7. Watch your Wi-Fi connectivity. Protect your network by changing your router’s default settings and making sure you have the connection password-protected. For more information on how to protect your Wi-Fi connection, click here.
  8. Install a firewall. A firewall is a great line of defense against cyber-attacks. Although most operating systems come with a firewall, you might want to consider installing McAfee LiveSafe™ service which has a much better firewall than the one that comes built into your operating system.
  9. Keep up to date. The best security software updates automatically to protect your computer. Use the manufacturer’s latest security patches to make regular updates and make sure that you have the software set to do routine scans
  10. Use your noggin. You do not need to be a seasoned computer whiz to know that it’s not smart to open an attachment titled, “Claim Your Inheritance!” Using common sense while surfing the Web can protect you from some hungry cyber-shark.

These are the basics to help you stay safe online. To stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following @McAfeeConsumer on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.

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