Securing your computer from identity theft is such an important topic; there are so many options (or layers, if you prefer) of identity theft protection available to you. Here are some crucial points to keep your identity safe while working online.
Stop Attacks With A Firewall
While your operating system includes a fairly basic firewall, you may not realise that your modem/router comes with one built-in, which is on by default. This prevents your computer from receiving attacks from the Internet.
For added protection use the one included in your Anti-Virus software package too.
Use Anti-Virus Software
That leads me to the next part, anti-virus solutions often include, not only anti-virus but anti-spyware malware and some form of firewall if you are using a software package like Norton.
When it comes to Anti-Virus software, there are free options available but the reality is a paid package like that of Norton are often better and provide a more comprehensive level of security. Anti-Virus software products are more important for Windows users than Mac users, however, it is worth having it regardless, there’s too much at risk.
Keep Your O/S Up To Date
Keep your Windows/Mac OS UP TO DATE! This is so important, I’ve known people to ignore and postpone their operating system updates. This is very bad practice as these updates rarely change or update any part of the operating system but merely plug security holes within it.
If you find the automatic updates feature of Windows a bit intrusive, always popping up while you’re working, asking you to restart, you should turn this feature off and use the option “download updates but allow me to choose when to install them,” just make sure you check once a month for new updates, this is easy to do, simply set a recurring reminder in your diary.
Don’t Use Weak Passwords
As tempting as it is to use a 4-digit word for a password (easier to remember!) it’s important for security purposes to have strong passwords on business accounts. Most people use one password for multiple services where they can.
This means if somebody was able to guess your password for your email account they already have half of your information, getting to your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts is just around the corner, don’t risk it!
Thankfully most websites and services now require you to create longer passwords utilising capital letters and numbers; this is actually a good thing! Just remember not to use the same password for everything as tempting as that may be.
Be Careful Browsing The Web
There’s always a common sense factor involved in keeping yourself secure online, and this is the area where you need to use it. As a sceptic myself, I naturally question everything I see on a website, including the web address itself.
It’s a big world (wide web) out there and fraudsters can quite easily make a website appear legitimate but it’s really only there to steal your personal information and thus, your money.
Be careful of the websites you visit and look for the green padlock icon on any website you visit, you’ll find this padlock on the web address in the address bar on your browser.
This lock means the website is secure and legitimate, the “s” in https stands for secure, read more here.
These steps should be enough to keep your identity safe online. By also protecting your identity, these tips will help you stay virus and spyware free!