iSAFE is a non-profit organization that helps students, teachers, parents, and anyone who uses the Internet on how to be safe. This includes protecting information stored on your computer from attacks. Financial statements, social security numbers, and other incriminating information that are stored on your computer could cause you a world of hurt if they were to get in the hands of hackers or the wrong people.
If you don’t take the following precautions, you could find yourself the victim of identity theft, your business accounts depleted, or other situations that occur on a daily basis to people and even businesses that leave their computers unprotected.
iSAFE’s website is a great starting point for learning about increasing your cyber security. The following are a few tips:
Use a firewall.
A firewall is the best way to protect yourself against Internet threats that can hack into your system and steal your information. Firewalls serve as blockers by screening the traffic that between your computer and the Internet. This is especially important if you have a permanent connection to the Internet.
Firewalls are essential, and a firewall software runs about $40-50Â for a year long subscription, making them an affordable way to keep your computer and the information you enter while on the Internet (such as passwords and bank accounts) private and safe from hackers and thieves.
Install a virus checker and use it regularly.
A virus checker, such as Norton or McAfee, can keep your computer safe from viruses and other things that could harm the files and other things on your computer. While most of these run automatically on your computer to scan for threats and viruses, you should run a scan at least once a week.
In addition, you will also want to keep your anti-virus software up to date. This is important because updates occur often, as new viruses and threats are released continually.
Be careful where you enter your information.
If you do a lot of shopping online, or you get price quotes from places that require you to enter your social security number, be very selective about where you enter bank account number, credit card info, and other such information. Make sure the site is reputable and secure. You can check to make sure it is secure by looking at the URL, which should have an “s” at the end of the http address, which indicates secure site. Also, the image of a closed padlock in the bottom right hand corner of your screen also helps to ensure the information you enter is protected.
In addition, keep a low profile on your computer by avoiding joining lots of chat rooms and news groups, which can make you an easy target.
Make sure you have a dynamic IP address.
Your IP address is the identity of your computer and is stamped on each and every site you visit, making you easily track-able to Internet thieves and hackers. A static IP address never changes, making it that much easier to find you and your information. The dynamic IP addresses that change constantly make it harder to determine who you are.
As iSAFE points out, cyber crime is a real threat, and each year millions of people have identities, money, and other sensitive and important information stolen from them because they have not properly protected themselves online. The above tips will help to keep your computer impenetrable to the threats of hackers and other people trying to steal your information.