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Online Protection

Online security is something everyone should be concerned with. Two of the most common things we do online is check emails and log in to a variety of websites. In this article we are going to focus on those two tasks and discuss how you can protect yourself from having your information stolen or abused. If you are not sure how much of a risk you might be at here is a small quick test to find out

Email Security

Most people rely upon email these days, a lot, both in their personal lives and for day-to-day business communication. Email is a fast and easy way to communicate but it does pose risks. Hackers can break into your account and steal it from you, then use the information to break into other accounts. They can also hijack your email account to send out spam and viruses to all on your contact lists.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from email security breaches:

1.Use unique passwords for each email address.
2.Don’t post your email address publicly on websites.
3.Keep a separate (secret) email address for sensitive online accounts such as banking and government log ins.
4.Don’t give your email out to third-party sites if you haven’t checked into their legitimacy and read their privacy policy.
5.Don’t share your email log in and password with others.
6.Be careful of sending any secure info via email when using public WI-FI.

Be smart with your email. Keep it safe and avoid giving out your email unless you are certain it won’t be abused.

Password Protection

Now, let’s move on toPassword Protection. If you’re like most people then the issue of keeping track of your logins for the vast number of websites you visit is quite overwhelming. So you’ve solved the problem by making the same login for every single site you have an account for.

Smart move?

Not on your life!

If you’ve done this, it’s time to take action now before you give away all the information anyone needs to cause you some serious stress. If your identity gets stolen it’s no joke. You’ll have to deal with the repercussions of having someone break into your bank accounts, set up loans in your name, get a fake driver’s license courtesy of you and do nameless other acts that could tie you up with major problems for years and years.

Where do we start protecting ourselves? With proper Password Protection.

Here are some of the ways you must start protecting your passwords today:

Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols in your password.
Change your most important and sensitive passwords monthly.
Never use the default security questions on a website if you have the choice to make up your own.
Use a program to auto-fill your passwords so that key logger software can’t steal your login information.
Never share your passwords with anyone.
Never send your passwords via email or instant messenger.
Never log into websites containing sensitive information while on public internet access.

Protecting your passwords and your email accounts don’t have to take up a ton of time, money or effort. It’s more of an awareness than anything. Please don’t keep this information to yourself. Education the ones you love, too.

Keeping Safe While Socializing Online on Facebook & Forums

The net is lots of fun these days. Getting in touch with childhood friends, sharing pictures with friends and family near and far, playing games like Farmville, dealing with people ‘poking’ you, virtual zombies, birthday announcements and friend requests. These things keep people returning to the social networks.

Of course the biggest social network is Facebook. Since it’s the largest and most popular, that’s the one I’ll talk about today, but please understand that all of the tips that I’m about to share also apply to other social sites or forums that you participate in.

It’s important to realize that these social sites are visited by both outstanding citizens and criminals. All people have free access to participate. So you must be aware and smart about how you share information about yourself in these social places.

Many people don’t realize the consequences of posting details of their life for all the world to see.

They may not realize that…
Identity theft is a very real and devastating situation.
They can be targeted for other forms of crime.
The way they present themselves online is permanent and searchable for no limited amount of time.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:

Make Sure The Sites that you Visit are Safe and Secure

The first thing you need to do is understand the security and privacyavailable on the sites you are using.

GROAN, right? Yes I know it can be a pain to try to figure out the policies and check through the security on a whole bunch of websites but it’s important that you take the protection of your information serious by doing so. The website owner is not out for you, they are out to make a buck and you better make sure that they’re not using your private information to do so.

Facebook is pretty famous for changing its security settings. New posts will float around on a pretty regular basis about any new change to the security settings that lets others see information you don’t want them to see. You need to check this out and find out if any new changes affect you.

Don’t Give Out Too Much Information

Another way to get into trouble with social media is to give out too much info.

Be careful of what you share through your profile, your posts, your private messages and also in your pictures. For instance, if you post a picture of your car – that can spell danger. If the wrong person gets wind of your license plate number, your name and your address they can get pretty far with that information.

A popular feature of Facebook is the birthday notifications. If you decide to show your birthday on your profile, make sure that you just post the date but not the year. Don’t make it easy for identity thieves to piece together what they need to go get a loan in your name.

Going on vacation? Good for you! However, a good vacation can turn bad if you announce it all over Facebook. “I’ll be in Jamaica from February 13-18th. So excited!” That’s leaving a personal invitation to would-be burglars. Wait to post pictures of your trips until you get back home.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

Unless it’s part of your business, it’s a good idea to keep strangers out of your social network. Think of your social groups online as you would offline. Would you invite strangers into your home simply because they asked to be friends? Probably not.

Don’t Blindly Trust Links, Emails or Friends

Many social networks get broken into by spammers who use the trust of these types of sites to get your information. This can happen via the form of a link that puts a virus on your computer to steal information, or an email that looks like it’s from a person you trust but really isn’t. Basically don’t trust anything on these sites, even if it is from someone you know and trust very well. Their account may have been hacked and they might not even know it yet. If you receive a suspicious link or someone posts something odd on your wall – either ask the person what it is or just delete it. Always choose safe over sorry.

Social networks are obviously lots of fun and are a great way to connect with friends and family. Unfortunately they can also be way too exposing if not controlled. Be smart in your online adventures, take some preventative steps and you’ll have no concerns as you go about connecting with the people you enjoy spending ‘virtual’ time with!

Safely Shopping Online

Ahhh… the convenience of never leaving home to shop. It can be fun to go shopping online, but it can also be risky if you are not taking proper precautions.

In this article we’ll discuss some of the ways you can avoid exposing your information too much and putting yourself at risk.

Safe Shopping Tip #1: Shop on Familiar Websites

You are taking a risk if you shop on a brand new website unless you are familiar with the company or the entrepreneur who started it. You’ll be safest by sticking to the tried and true sites that are extensions of offline stores or stores that you’ve been following for a while and are completely familiar with.

Safe Shopping Tip #2: Look For Secure Websites

When you go through the shopping cart on the website you are about to buy from, do you see that the URL in your browser starts with https:// or a http://? It’s the ‘s’ that’s important here. It indicates a secure server versus an open one. Secure servers make it more difficult for a hacker to grab your information mid-transmission, where an unsecured one doesn’t really do anything to prevent this issue.

Safe Shopping Tip #3: Never Give Out More Than Necessary

If you go through a shopping cart and it doesn’t require your phone number or mailing address, don’t give it out. Also, if the shopping cart asks you information like your birthday or your marital status don’t give this kind of information out either. And, if they ask for your social security or tax ID – RUN!

Safe Shopping Tip #4: Use Paypal If Possible

There may be some debate about Paypal and if it’s a good way to go, but millions of people use Paypal successfully every single day. The great thing about using Paypal is that you only need to trust one site with your credit card information – Paypal. When you go through the shopping cart of a website that uses Paypal you will be redirected to their secure server, instead of the website you are not familiar with.

Safe Shopping Tip #5: Check Statements and Receipts

Make sure what you were charged matches what you intended to pay. You’ll also want to get the details before you order. Find out how much shipping is, how long deliver will take, etc. If you can’t find this sort of information before you order, then the merchant hasn’t done a good job presenting this to you and you should think twice about ordering.

Safe Shopping Tip #6: Use Secure Internet Connections Only

Don’t shop with a credit card while on public wi-fi or you’ll put yourself at serious risk. Also make sure if you have wi-fi at home that it is password protected and secure.

Safe Shopping Tip #7: Do Not Store Credit Card Info

Many online stores (legitimate ones like Amazon.com) will offer to store your credit card information for your convenience when making future purchases. Unless you have an extremely secure password when logging into your store account, this is not recommended.

Safe Shopping Tip #8: Check Privacy Policies

If you want to protect yourself, you better read the privacy policy of any website you are unsure of. Let’s talk a little scenario here:

You buy a tackle box from Bob’s Fishing Supply Shop and get your order no problem. Then, you start getting phone calls and emails all the time from companies selling everything and anything to do with fishing including bait, boats, lines and fishing vacations. You think: “What the heck?!”

So you head back on over to Bob’s website and check around. You stumble on the privacy policy only to discover it says something like this:
“We reserve the right to transfer your contact information to our partners. You agree to this policy by using this website”.

Obviously that’s not legal jargon but you get the point. Basically you used Bob’s website, gave him your information and agreed to his policy just by being there.

There you have a eight tips to help you prepare for your best online shopping experience. Don’t make the mistake of putting all the responsibility on the merchants to protect your information. Be aware and always pay attention to where you sending your personal information.

How to Protect Yourself While Banking Online

Online banking is quick, easy and convenient. Gone are the days when the only way you could pay your bills, check your accounts and transfer money was by walking into the bank. The convenience is unarguable, but what about the risks?

Yes there are risks to online banking. If you take the proper precautions, however, the risk level drops and becomes safer than using an ATM.

So how do you protect yourself while banking online?

Here are six essential precautions so that you can enjoy the luxury of online banking without worrying about the safety of your account.

Avoid Public Internet Access

Never log on to your banking accounts while on any public or semi-private internet connection. This includes the WI-FI at your local coffee shop, hotels and resorts, your local library or the airport.

Password Protect Your Internet Access

If you have wireless internet at home or in the office, make sure that you protect it with a password so that it can’t be broken into by unscrupulous people. If your connection is not secure, then anyone who wants to can access it and potentially grab the information that is being transmitted.

It’s similar to the old shared telephone lines. Remember those? You’d pick up and could listen to your neighbors’ conversations? Well, you definitely don’t want that if you’re banking online – or transmitting anything that you would not want public.

Protect Your Passwords

Don’t use your birthday or your kid’s names as your passwords for online banking. That’s a really bad idea. You want to create a password that’s near-impossible to crack and then you want to keep it safe. The safest place if you can do it is in your memory. Of course a secure password has a mix of letters and numbers and is oftentimes difficult to remember.

If you must write your passwords down, keep the information in a safe and secure place. And of course don’t share your passwords with others.

Don’t Trust Email

Highly sensitive information should never be sent in an email. If for some reason you have to share your banking logins then do so over the telephone, not via email.

Don’t Take The Bait

There are many email scams online where thieves will try to get your information by pretending to be your bank or some other company. They put up a fake website and send you an urgent message demanding you click the link in the email and log in to your account immediately. This is a ploy to capture your log in information so they can drain your accounts. Don’t let this happen!

Never (ever) click on links within emails to log in to banking accounts. This includes any brick and mortar bank that you’re using, online only banks, and even (especially) Paypal.com. Instead browse straight to the website by typing in the domain – just as you would type in CNN.com or Yahoo.com into your address bar.

No good banking institutions will ever send you emails with links in them because they know about phishing and they don’t want to confuse you by having you try to figure out when it’s a real (and safe) link and when it’s not.

Keep Up Software, Virus Protection and Firewalls

Make sure you have the best virus protection you can find on your computer and keep it up to date. Another way hackers can get your information is by breaking into your computer and stealing it.

You’ll also want to make sure that you keep your internet browsers and any tools you use to access online accounts (email software, etc) updated.

Now you have some real actions steps that you can take right away to protect yourself while banking online. Of course, banking online will never be 100% guaranteed safe but if you avoid some of these most common dangers, then you’ll be much safer. Happy banking!




2 Responses to “Online Protection”

  1. Malka Goehner says:

    Excellent writing! Thank you for this wonderful source of information, peace.

  2. Private Proxy says:

    Great info! Thanks!

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