The reality of the modern malware landscape is that hackers are more sophisticated than ever and are finding more insidious and stealthy ways to break into even the most secure environments. That said, it is essential that Internet users like you and me take their security into our own hands and practice safe computing anytime we’re online.
There are a handful of ways to added extra measures of protection to your online experience:
Create Secure P@$$WorDs. Between the myriad online banking, shopping, and subscriptions accounts we maintain online, it’s easy to be tempted to create just one password for all of your accounts. That’s a big no-no. If someone does manage to get your password for a boutique shopping site and thinks to try it on your bank account, you’re in for a bad day. Not only should you forgo predictable passwords—use a variety of letters, numbers and symbols—it’s important to designate a different password for each accounts you log into. LastPass and Roboform are excellent services you can use to keep all your different passwords stored securely in one place, so you don’t have to memorize 100 different passwords.
Antivirus Antidote. These days, most computers come with Internet security already installed, but even the best suites can be compromised. To ensure yours is one step ahead of malware, be sure to keep your security software up-to-date. Don’t ignore those little pop-ups that tell you that an update is available. That update is what may save your computer from a future attack.
To Click or Not to Click. Click here for two free roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the U.S.! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for these ubiquitous “click here” emails or social media campaigns because it’s likely you’ll end up with a virus or some other kind of malware. Even if you receive a forwarded email from a trusted source, be very cautious about opening embedded links and attachments.
Don’t Fall for the Phish. Remember that I said that cybercriminals are stealthy? They have become very accomplished at creating authentic-looking emails from well-established brands that urge you to respond immediately or risk having your account be immediately terminated. These phishing scams are widespread, but remember that no bank or reputable online institution will email you with requests to give them personal information. Delete those emails immediately and report the phishing scam to the real institution that these emails claim to be from.
Taking these simple steps and remaining vigilant are what will protect you and your identity from cybercriminal behavior.