Internet Security

Internet Security

Our lives are wrapped up in Web 2.0 technology. Most of us would be nearly crippled if we could not access the internet for a day. We conduct much of our business online today. We can bank online, socialize online, check our email, get a map, and many other activities that fill our day. The internet has become such an integral part of our day, we have a wide variety of devices with which we can now access it. Some actually still use home computers but we have laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods, Kindle Fire and smart phones that keep us in touch with the rest of our worlds. Too many times we do not give enough thought to how secure the information is that we are sending over the internet. There is actually a substantial amount of risk associated with doing all of our business online. Hackers are creating viruses that can destroy devices or just wreak havoc on them; and some individuals are hacking into accounts to steal your identity and ultimately your money. When we first become aware of how frequent these types of happenings actually occur, it can be terrifying. But there are some practical ways that you can protect yourself and your information.

Password Usage

Almost every site you use will require a user name and a user generated password. There are some very important things about passwords that can help protect your identity and your information. Most sites require at least 8 characters for a password. Do not use something that would be too easy to figure out like birthdates. The best password has upper and lower case letters, a number and a symbol. This combination makes it much more difficult for a hacker to crack. In order to protect your password, you will also want to change it periodically. It is also a good idea to have a different password for every site; this makes it much more difficult for a hacker to figure out as well.

Password Hints

When you set up your password on most sites, they will typically present you with several password “hints.” That way if you cannot remember your password, or want to reset the password at a later date, they will use the hints to make sure it is you making the changes. Do not use a hint question that would be very easy to discover like your mother’s maiden name, or your elementary school. If these are the only types of questions you are offered, use an answer that means something to you but does not necessarily answer the question. Use something like sunshine or pickles. The site will not check the answer for validity, only that it matches your answer. You can enter whatever you want in the answer field; just make it something easily remembered.

Safe Surfing

There are many malicious sites out there that are fishing for your information. They want you to come on their site and look around so that they can gain access to your computer. Do not go on sites that have questionable origins, or that have very “strange” looking URLs.  Do not click on links that you are unsure of their origin. The same thing is true for emails. Only open email from people you know, or that is from a source that you were expecting to send an email. And never download anything from sites that you are not absolutely sure about. Many sites are set up so that if you make a download you are actually downloading a destructive virus or dangerous spyware onto your computer. It is best to only click links on trusted sites and only if you are sure the link was placed there by the site administrator. Links can take you to sites that contain viruses as well.