How to avoid pirates and have a safe journey on the Web
The Internet can be a hub of information relentlessly being helpful for a study, it can be entertaining providing lots of fun things to see and do, it will keep you up to date in real time in what’s happening in the world around you and even link you to friends and family at the click of a button. But while you’re happy participating in some or all of this there are darker forces at work, these forces want your personal information for their gain, and that usually involves making money. Making money ranges from black hat, or the devious promotion of a product to blatant theft of your money. Protecting yourself online is important.
Imagine naively sailing across Somalia waters in a brightly lit boat containing all your worldly possessions sounding off a fog horn to let everyone know of your presence. It wouldn’t take too long before you had unwanted visitors, well the Internet is similar in the fact that keeping a low profile with your personal information and locking down all the hatches, is the only way for a safe and secure crossing.
One of the most recent scams is receiving an Email from one of your friends or family with a link to a website, but when you click on the link nothing happens, but unaware you have just downloaded Malware or even worse a key logger programme that can send the Scammer everything you are typing on your keyboard. Yes imagine that! EVERYTHING! Bank details, passwords and all your personal information to boot. So how do they know who your friends and family are?
Scammers are high tech people and will look for any doors left open to your information across the Internet. One such open door, or vulnerability, is the Social media platform. Take Facebook for example, scammers set up fake profiles and befriend you on Facebook, they then have access to your Email, your basic information, and your friends information. Your only defence is to lock down your privacy settings, look again at your profile from a hackers point of view and if you see anything that could be a link to your personal information adjust your settings to block it.
Below are some tips for a safe passage across the Web and I can only urge you to some more reading on the subject, it is worth spending some time on, and could save you a lot of heartache in the future.
- Do not accept friends on Facebook automatically, have a good look at their profile and assess if you really want them as friends.
- Tell your friends if you can see personal information on their profiles.
- Review your privacy settings on whatever social website you are a member.
- If you get an unusual email from someone you know, do not click on any links. Give them a ring or txt and ask them have they sent it.
- Change your passwords regularly, keep the new passwords separate from your computer.
- Regularly run your antivirus programme, also include programmes such as Malwarebytes.
- Set up and use a different Email address for social media, use different Email addresses for important things, try to include characters and numbers in your address name.
- Make passwords lengthy and include numbers, don’t use short simple words like names.
- Don’t make transactions or enter personal information when using free WI-FI spots or internet café’s. These places can use “sniffers” where they hack your computer.
- Do not give out passwords, in fact, any of your information to anyone who asks on the Web.
- Try not to keep important information stored on your computer or phone. Keep it in written form safe.
- Avoid using your Email or passwords on someone else’s computer, you may trust them, but you don’t know what’s lurking in their computer.
- Never open an attachment in your Email unless you are 100% sure who it is from. It could be a virus.
- Never save information on a public computer such as a library, you would be amazed how many people do.
These are the most basic ways of protecting your information, there are others where encryption, password protected Emails, and secure programs can be used. It all depends on a balance between being safe and how much length you want to go to, obviously the more you do, the safer you are.