Identity theft. Phishing. Viruses. Trojan Horses. Cyber attacks. These are just some of the dangers we all face when using the internet.
Dan Gookin, Author of “Buying a Computer for Dummies” says, “There was a security expert a long time ago and they gave him a room and a computer and he stood there and he stared at it, rubbed his chin, looked at it and he said, ‘How can you make this computer secure?….unplug it.’ I don’t recommend people unplug their computers, but his point was the computer was insecure. It’s not going to be secure as long as it’s up. The security really doesn’t lie in the computer, it lies with you.”
Anyone can be a victim of Identity Theft.
Internet safety tip: Protect your personal information
With more than 16 million Hispanic Americans using the internet today, here are some basic guidelines on how to surf the web safely and securely. Be sure to always protect your personal information. Identity thieves will go to great lengths to get it.
Internet safety tip: If you get an e-mail or pop-up message asking for personal information, don’t reply or click on the link.
Computer Expert, Jose Xiochtencatl says, “Particular companies usually don’t e-mail anything unless you want them to and you have asked them to beforehand. Companies will not ask you for your information, such as your bank account or your social security number, over the Internet.”
Internet safety tip: Always know who you’re dealing with.
If you’re asked for your personal information, find out how it’s going to be used and how it will be protected before you share it. And, it’s relatively easy for scammers to impersonate a legitimate business, so always know who you’re dealing with.
Internet safety tip: Most legitimate organizations and businesses will have a physical address and a working phone number.
Saber Hacer experts say nobody is going to ask you for your personal information online, at least not a legitimate company or a legitimate organization. If that happens, pick up the phone and call, and verify it.
Internet safety tip: Download free software only from sites that you know and trust.
“Don’t use pirated or stolen software. You know, if someone gives you a disk and says, ‘Hey! Here’s this new game, you can go ahead and use it, and you don’t need to enter a password or anything.’ I’d be very careful about that because you don’t know if there may be a virus on there. There may be a program that goes in and gathers up your credit card information,” explains Gookin.
Internet safety tip: Delete requests that claim to be foreign nationals asking you to transfer their money through your bank account. They’re fraudulent.
Also, for years scam operators have been trying to get U.S. consumers to buy tickets to a foreign lottery through e-mails. Or, that a cash prize has been awarded to you and all you have to do is pay the taxes or the processing fees. These e-mail solicitations are phony and illegal, and should be deleted immediately.
Internet safety tip: Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
To help protect your computer, be sure to install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly. Spyware software is installed without your consent and it monitors or controls your computer. “You need to have protection from the bad guys who are constantly out there probing. I mean they are constantly poking their finger into your Internet connection saying, ‘How can I get in here?’ And what you need to do is you need to have protection,” says Gookin.
Internet safety tip: Set up your operating system and web browser software security settings properly, and update them regularly.
Plus, be sure your operating system and web browser built-in security settings are set-up properly, and update them regularly. To check or increase the security settings on your browser, check your “tools” or “options” menus. For your operating system, go into the “control panel” and select “security center.” If you need help understanding your choices, use your “help” function.
Internet safety tip: Create a secure password and protect it.
Also, when picking a password don’t make it easy for hackers to crack it. Create a secure password and protect it. Use passwords that have at least eight characters. And remember to change your passwords regularly, at a minimum, every 90 days.
“In order for any person to create a secure password, you have to make sure to stay away from basic things such as first names, birthdays or, in some cases, social security numbers. Make sure you stay away from those because those are not very secure. Make sure that you use one lower case, one capital letter and a series of numbers within your password,” suggests Xiochtencatl.
Internet safety tip: Back up important files
Finally, no computer system is completely secure. So, be sure to regularly back up all your important files onto a removable disk or an external drive. “People say drive defensively, so I would say let’s compute defensively. You know, when you use your computer be on the lookout. Be aware that there are bad things that can happen,” says Gookin.