Let’s face it, when we get online and access the Internet, we’re vulnerable to security threats. Whether we’re online through a modem, a DSL line, cable or wireless, there are risks involved. There are computer viruses, malware, adware, spyware, identification theft and general privacy issues. In addition to protecting our computers, we now have to protect our smart phones and other mobile devices. Additionally, online privacy is an issue that anyone who accesses the Internet has to deal with these days. Here are 20 tips to help protect your privacy on the Internet:
1.) Don’t post personal information like email addresses, phone numbers, street addresses, etc. online.
2.) Use passwords that contain a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.
3.) Change your passwords frequently and keep them private.
4.) Create a throw-away email account that you can use for mailing lists, forums etc. If it gets spammed, delete it and create a new one.
5.) Be diligent about opening emails and clicking on links.
6.) Never reply to spammers. (You’re verifying your email address.)
7.) Install, update and regularly run security software (anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spam).
8.) Install software/apps on your mobile devices to track theft and protect yourself from viruses, spam and malware.
9.) Install updates to your software (operating systems, WordPress, Joomla, Drupla, SQL, and related plugins, extensions, etc.)
10.) Install a firewall appliance (such as a broadband router) as well as firewall software. Used together, you have a higher degree of protection.
11.) Be wary of wireless connections in public places like coffee shops and airports. Other people on the network could possibly access your information.
12.) Be conscious if the website that you’re on is secure. The URL of a secure site begins with https:// rather than http://.
13.) When you’re on a social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc.), be aware of your privacy settings. Oftentimes, the default is to be public. Change your settings to fit your personal needs.
14.) If you have children, install parental controls and monitor their online activities. Teach your children to never share personal information online. (Joining the same social networking sites that they do and becoming their “friend” is a good idea too.)
15.) Be cautious of what “apps” (applications) you authorize to access your accounts and occasionally check the apps you’ve authorized to see if any can be removed or blocked.
17.) Don’t automatically consent to the collection, use or storage of your personal information.
18.) Make it clear that you do not wish your information to be disclosed to any third party.
19.) Replace antiquated software that has been discontinued and no longer supported.
20.) Host your websites with a reputable vendor that has a reputation of proven security mechanisms and routine security practices.
What are your thoughts? I’m sure there are many more tips and ideas of ways we can protect ourselves online. What are your favorite ways to protect yourself and your family from having your computers and mobile devices compromised?