Staying safe online is a must in this day and age. With numerous hacks, scams, and frauds patrolling around the internet, it is key that people know how to keep their identity, laptop, smartphone, and online account safe. Here are a few examples and solutions to problems that happen daily with PC owners.
1. Account Theft
Account theft is probably one of the most popular forms of online crime know to users. Basically what happens is, an outside source “hacks” or gets access to your online account, password, email, or even your phone numbers. When this happens users often times get a message from their account client saying that there has been suspicious activity. When account theft happens, emails, messaging, social, and even billing information can be used against the account owner. There are ways to avoid account theft. Users should take certain steps to “secure” their accounts by changing passwords every month, two months, or three months. A second way I which users can minimize the risk of account theft is by checking in on what has been going on in their account. Users can do this by looking through the “recent activity” page. A final way in which account theft can be avoided is by signing out of accounts after use. Companies such as Amazon and Comcast offer to “keep you signed in.” In essence when you leave the window, your account is open for a few minutes to a few hours. This makes it easy for hackers to access your account.
2. Computer Hacking
Let’s face it, computers get hacked. A new study shows that Apple’s Mac OSX is the most vulnerable operating system in 2015 clocking in at 384 individual vulnerabilities. What exactly are vulnerabilities? Vulnerabilities are in essence “loopholes” in the system that allow hackers to reach in and grab data. There are steps you can take to avoid being hacked. One way is to always stay up to date by frequently updating your PC or Mac. To check for updates in Windows, type into search “update.” Open windows update and check for and install updates. To update your Mac open the App Store app on your Mac, click Updates in the toolbar, and update each app individually, or click Update All to install all available updates. Checking for and installing updates every two weeks ensures that users are always protected. A second way to stay protected is by updating your browser. Most browsers are updated every two weeks with new security features and features. To update your browser simply navigate to settings. Choose a setting that is or is similar to Help and About or About Browser Name. A final way to ensure protection of your laptop is to avoid downloading scams. What is a scam? A scam is any software that offers one thing but installs something else, and/or it installs an add-in on your browser, and/or it modifies your personal browsing settings, and/or it “scans” your computer for problems. Common ways to avoid online scams and hacks are to, “Avoid clicking on posts that offer that “Free trip to Tahiti!” especially if they don’t come directly from a reputable, “official” trusted company page. Don’t rely on freeware for cybersecurity. You get what you pay for. And some freeware options that are meant to protect your information are even selling it to make money. Use trusted, multi-layered protection with support and a security guarantee, like Norton Security.” “If the price is way out of line from the prices offered by reputable, authorized resellers such as your local computer store or well-known online retailers such as Amazon.com. If the merchant has a page on their site or in their FAQ explaining how they are legal, they probably aren’t. If the merchant’s “terms of sales and service” page has a statement that you give up the right to initiate a chargeback through your credit card company, be very concerned. (Some will even claim the right to counter-sue you for fraud if you initiate a charge-back!) If you are required to use a special number or procedure for activating your software before you can use it, you are likely getting a hacked version that bypasses the manufacturer’s embedded product activation. If the offer was received by unsolicited email (spam) or posted on an Internet message board. If the product is advertised as an OEM, NFR, or academic version. (OEM software is only to be sold with hardware such as new computer systems. NFR stands for not for resale and is generally distributed for evaluation purposes and beta testing. Academic versions can only be purchased by students, teachers, and education faculty.) If the packaging is inconsistent with the same products offered through reputable sellers. If the product is advertised a “full version” but states that you will receive only CDs. If the product is advertised as a “backup copy” with serial number. If the seller states that the software can’t be registered. If the Web site has not been online very long. (You can check this by doing a search on the domain name and looking at the creation date.)” Once again, never download programs unless they are from the publisher’s website.
3. Safe Browsers
We all browse the internet. After all what are computers here for? Ensuring that your browser is safe is key. So, what is the safest browser this year? Our Techman Team recommends Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge ranks first when put to real world page load tests. Whether you use the web to search, watch or play, this browser won’t slow you down. It’s easy to import all your favorites too. Here’s how to import them from Internet Explorer or Chrome. Select Hub > Favorites. Select Import favorites and choose from the list. If you’d added any favorites to the favorites bar in another browser, here’s how you see them in Microsoft Edge—select More actions (…) > Settings and then turning on Show favorites bar. To see your favorites, select Hub > Favorites. Note; Microsoft Edge is only available for Windows 10. If you do not run Windows 10, consider using Google Chrome.
Well, that wraps up this editorial on how to stay safe online.
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Techman Team (Author: Joe McLaughlin)