Tips on how to keep yourself protected while online

Have Security Software on your computer. Using an anti-virus security software will help protect your computer system. Make sure you have a security suite installed and update the software regularly. Also update your browser on a regular basis.

Be aware of your environment. Before you decide to any banking or shopping on-line, be aware of your environment. Public areas with public computers are prime areas for eavesdroppers or identity thief’s. Personal information can be stolen on public computers easily infected with spy ware which can track your online shopping and steal passwords and compromise your accounts without you even knowing it.

Do not share your personal information on-line. Never ever share your personal or financial information with anyone, unless you know that the company you are dealing with is secure and safe by checking the website’s security. Do not ever reveal financial or personal information via email nor respond to email solicitations. If you are unsure that the email request is legitimate, contact the company directly to see if they are requesting this information.

Create unique passwords. Create hard to guess passwords with a combination of numbers, letters and symbols. This will add layers of protection for you. It is very tempting to create a simple password such as things like your birthday, however, it is not hard to create a complex, yet easy to memorize password, like switching certain letters to numbers or symbols. Do not use the same password for each website that you are required to use a password just in case that password is ever jeopardized.

Secure you wireless network. Securing your wireless routers or access point by using strong administrator passwords that are needed to log into the device. As soon as you set up your new WLAN router, always change the default password. Always turn off your SSID broadcast to your network. This makes it invisible to your neighbors. Enable WPA encryptioninstead of WEP. WPA provides better protections and is easier to use. WEP encryption has a well-known weakness that makes it easy to crack the encryption and access the wireless network. If your wireless network only supports WEP encryption, then don’t use an encryption key that is easy to guess. Users should change their encryption keys often.

Choose safe payment options such as Credit Cards over Debit Cards. Use a disposable credit card, or a gift card because if the card is jeopardized, the thief can only access the remainder of the money and nothing else. If you use a credit card, use one that has a very small credit limit, as you are responsible for paying the monetary amount if your information is stolen or used by someone else. Never, ever store Credit Card information, the will help prevent anyone from gaining access to them. Credit cards offer protection from identity theft that most often debit cards do not. If debit cards are used online and someone gains access to it, the thief may have very well cleaned out your bank account before you even learn that there is a problem.

Shop on-line only at home. Never shop on-line in a public place. Public computers are breeding grounds for cyber criminals. Public computers can easily be loaded with spyware and addware which can easily steal your personal and financial information. Never shop in a public place using your lap-top either. Consider the dangers your expose yourself to. You will need to connect to a wireless network, a wireless network is a set of devices that enables all kinds of different computers to use an internet connection simultaneously) and in most cases the public connection will not be a secured network. Sharing a connection with others lets the ISP providing the connectivity, the ability to see everything you do. This allows clever snoopers see where you are surfing and what your login and passwords are when logging into shopping sites.

Verify Website Security. Always tune-up your defenses before doing any on-line shopping. Always check the merchant that you are doing business with and make sure their website is legitimate. Be aware that some website’s don’t offer secure shopping. Look for signs that the website is secure by looking at your browser’s address bar. There should be a closed padlock on the browser’s address bar. Look at the URL address, it should start with SHTTP or HTTPS rather than the regular http, as this will indicated that the site is encrypted or secured. When making purchases online, be alert to the kinds of information that is being asked. Before providing any personal or financial information, check out the website’s privacy policy before hand.

Don’t open email’s from an unknown source(s). Using email to trick people into opening attachments or requesting you to visit website’s to collect financial or personal information allow attackers to gain access to your accounts. This practice is called Phising. Not all email filters are perfect, therefore, always open emails with some degree of caution.

Install firewall on your computer. Install an anti-virus software with firewall’s, and email filters to reduce spam and spyware. Always make sure your virus software and firewall’s are up-to-date. A firewall will help protect your from hackers breaking into your computer system.

Always disconnect from the internet when not in use. Always turn your computer off when not in use. Many people leave their computers running and connected to the internet all day and night. This gives cyber criminals access to your computer 24/7.

Delete your Cookies and clear your Cache. Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser is stored. This is called browser caches. A cookie is a file created that is stored on the computer. It saves specific information such as shopping cart contents and authentication data. It is suggested that after visiting a shopping site or a banking site to clear your browser cache and cookies.