Dealing With Internet Risk

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How Risky Is The Internet Today

The Internet has become so enmeshed in our daily lives that it seems no one can live without it. This is perfectly understandable. The Internet endows a number of advantages on its participants in the personal, business and social aspects of their lives. However, despite its overwhelming advantages, the Internet presents many risks to user safety making it hard for many to get a satisfactory level of online trust. Fraud continues to mushroom, scams are scattered everywhere online, and issues around identity theft seem ever-present. If you use the Internet, be wary that it can be a portal of online risk that can make your life miserable.

Since complete online trust is practically impossible, be aware that your Internet practices are an important aspect of your online life. Fortunately, there are a variety of practices that can provide some protection online, and reduce the likelihood of your falling victim to online crime. Here are useful five tips, when employed in concert with one another they reduce your personal, business, and social risk online.

Secure your computer from malware.

Malware are outside threats to your computer like viruses, worms, and spam. Each in their own way can compromise you personal information, your privacy and your reputation. Online criminals enter your system in ways that are not obvious, and are unlikely to leave visible traces of their misdeeds. Every system has loopholes, and cyber criminals exploit them. Installing antivirus software and spam filters on email will help guard your overall privacy online. Your Internet service provider may have some of the tools and techniques in place for you. Consider calling them to find out how much protection you can expect from their service. Supplement these services with product of your own. There are many reliable vendors, such as Symantec, McAfee, and Kaspersky that can provide you peace of mind for a reasonable annual subscription fee. These products are continually revised and updates are provided on an ongoing basis as new threats arise.

Equally important is safeguarding your wireless network, should you use one of these. Encryption protection should be enabled. Encryption ensures the bad guys cannot see your online transactions.

Pay attention to your security settings

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are the most visited sites on the Internet today. Hackers and cyber criminals take advantage of the inherent vulnerabilities of these sites for their nefarious plans. That is why you must be careful with the security settings on your accounts. Take the time to understand the privacy policies for these sites. If you are not inclined to read the fine print, there are trusted resources online that can interpret the policies for you. It is your responsibility to know how these sites work, and what they do with your information. A good personal policy is to initially limit their capabilities through user settings until you become savvy on the interworkings of these sophisticated social models. And do not post anything on these social networking sites that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the New York Times.

As for your browser, you can adjust the sensitivity to match your comfort Zone. But at least set your browser to prevent pop-up windows. They can be a threat as well as a nuisance. And most browsers will give you the option to allow pop-ups for sites of your choosing.

Be diligent in online banking transactions

Take note that even your online banking transactions can be subject to risk online. Cyber criminals can access your online account through phishing or password scams. In their phishing mode, they send you an email that has a link to a fake website that looks similar to your bank’s website. After they surreptitiously steal your password, they may recommend a free product for download. Possibly, what you end up getting is software on your system that monitors your keystrokes, thus exposing your financial information

Never disclose log in details on email. Whereas account numbers and social security numbers are conveyed on phone calls with client representatives, never give login details. Also, never transact online banking on public computers. And, as always, check you are on a secure connection when entering your account details by looking at the url or web address in the browser. It must begin with “https://”, with that “s” in the middle. This is very important.

Use e-mail safely.

Do not assume that you can trust your e-mail. Most scams and fraud use e-mail as an entry point to your personal information. Do not click through a link, or reply to e-mails or pop-ups that ask for personal details like social security numbers, usernames, or bank account number. Web protocol, followed by legitimate companies, will never ask for these intimate details in an email. When in doubt, go directly to the website by typing in the website address in your browser. There, with a secure connection, you can conduct your business with confidence.

Be cautious with your passwords.

Make it hard on the fraudsters and cyber criminals by being wise with your passwords. Passwords are your first line of defense in cyber space. Therefore, make your passwords “strong”. Don’t use birthdays or the names of your children. Combinations of letters, numbers and symbols create strong passwords. A personal system for password construction is a good idea. For example, your password system could be a construct of a key word, followed by a symbol of your choosing, and completed with a simple code that ties to the web site you are logging into. Check online for recommendations on creating strong, personal, variable passwords.

For more information on protecting your identity, privacy and reputation, please visit our website at http://mycyberiq.com.

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