I am sad to say that my computer systems have been hacked several times even though I try to do everything within reason to avoid people from unlawfully entering into my system without my approval. I have had credit card information stolen and used as well as having a business website hacked from overseas. Using the Internet can be an enjoyable and valuable experience for you and your family as long as you do it safely and smartly. Here are some no nonsense ideas to reduce the likelihood that your computer(s) may get hacket:
1. Be smart when using instant messaging (IM) programs. If you use an IM program to communicate with friends and family, be careful about sending any personal information through online communications. Protect yourself by using a nickname for your IM screen name, so your name isn't identified through IM. Never accept strangers into your IM groups. Be smart about how you use IM at work because your employer has the right to monitor and view your messages.
2. Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and fake Websites, masquerading as legitimate businesses, to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information. To be safe, if you receive an email from a business that includes a link to a Website, make certain that the Website you visit is legitimate. Instead of clicking through to the Website from within the email, open a separate Web browser and visit the business' Website directly to perform the necessary actions. You can also verify that an email is in fact from a legitimate business by calling the business or agency directly.
3. Use email wisely. Email is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, and as a tool to conduct business. Even if you have good security software on your computer, however, your friends and family might not have the same protection. Be careful about what information you submit via email. Never send your credit-card information, Social Security number, or other private information via email.
4. Create smart and strong passwords. Make it difficult for hackers to crack your password. You can create a smart password by incorporating capital letters, numbers, and special characters, and using more than six characters. An example of a strong password is: Go1dM!n3.
5. Shop safely. Many online stores have the right protection for you to purchase online. Read the online store's privacy and security policies before shopping. If you plan to order from an online store, be sure that the Website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the Web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears at the bottom right of the checkout screen, or that there is a statement on the checkout screen stating that the checkout pages are secure with a security technology vendor. Check that the security technology does exist by checking the security technology company's Website. If you do not see the https in the web address, do NOT input personal credit card information!
6. Fun and carefree online gaming. Internet games are fun for the whole family. Make sure you are careful when playing online games, especially when communicating with other players. Be sure that your security software still functions when you are in gaming mode.
7. Pay attention to your children's online activities. Keep your home computer in a community area so that you can monitor their activity. Use child software that is age-appropriate. Limit your children's time spent online. Install and use parental controls software that allows you to monitor your children. This will keep your children from accessing undesirable Websites and sharing personal information via online communications. Along those same lines, when your child is gaming or doing educational online work, keep in mind that there may be viruses on that website. To reduce the likelihood of catching a virus, do NOT download anything, (including cuty little images) or provide prersonal information whatsoever!
8. Employ computer security service. Keeping you and your family safe whenever you power on your computer offers comprehensive security software that is always active—updating and protecting wherever you go online. Offering the latest and best combination of software, providing consumers and their home computers with unparalleled, comprehensive protection from cyberspace threats and identity theft.