6 Ways to Improve Your Online Security

Though the internet provides countless benefits, there are some very real risks that come along with it. There are countless scammers, phishers, and thieves whose only goal is to trick unknowing people into giving up important personal information that could be used for everything from emptying a bank account to stealing an identity completely. By following the tips below, it is possible to make yourself a much more difficult target of these kinds of predatory online behavior, protecting yourself and your computer from harm.

Use the Right Security Software

Though many people hate the idea of spending money on anti-virus software, the truth is that investing in a trusted, effective program is one of the easiest and most effective barriers between your computer and harmful activity. Look for a comprehensive software that fits your needs, keep it up to date, and run a full malware scan on your computer periodically to ensure that nothing harmful will slip through the cracks.

Use a Secured Network

Unsecured public wireless networks pose a large potential risk to the unwary. Never send personal or financial details over an unsecured network, and take care to secure your own wireless network to make sure that no one else can use it. Using an unsecured network puts you at risk from anyone else that might be using it, allowing others to potentially steal important personal information from miles away without being detected until it’s too late.

Update Your Browser

Put simply, using an older browser means exposing yourself to unnecessary security risks. A combination of more sophisticated malware and reduced support for older browsers leads to major security holes while using the internet. Take the time to update your browser to avoid the much more time-consuming and costly consequences of a security breach down the line.

Be Careful What You Share

In the age of social media, few people consider just how much of their personal information is available for anyone to see. Consider adjusting your privacy settings on social media sites, and avoid sharing personal details that might help someone take advantage of you. This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, and, of course, financial information.

Use Different Passwords

Always use a different password for each site that requires one. Many people fall victim to scammers and have important personal and financial information leaked by using the same password for multiple sites. This is because a single security breach on one of those sites suddenly means that a person with harmful intentions has access to your login information for every other place you have used that same username and password.

Use Caution with Unknown Emails and Links

A common method of phishing involves sending an email that looks legitimate, asking the user for their password or other sensitive information. Never respond to emails asking for login information or financial information, as no legitimate business should ever ask for this information via email. By the same token, avoid clicking links in emails from unknown or untrusted sources. Many times attackers will use sensational headlines or email subjects to lure people into clicking links that then infect their computer with malware. Most anti-virus software allows attachments to be scanned before opening.

By using these basic online security precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of being the victim of harmful online theft or fraud. While it is impossible to guarantee absolute safety, the majority of harmful online situations can be avoided by following these simple steps.

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