• Internet Safety (Photo - pixabay.com).

      Internet Safety (Photo – pixabay.com).

      Ever wonder how to stay safe on the Internet?

      By Carey Nachenberg

      Here’s a set of 10 easy-to-use suggestions from cyber-security guru Carey Nachenberg, one of the inventors of Norton Antivirus.

      1- Always run an up-to-date security program, like Norton, on your computer.

      Today’s best security products can block around 99% of all attacks on your computer, so the easiest way to stay safe is to let security software do the hard work.

      2- Never click on a web link in an email – even if you know the sender.

      Hackers can easily forge emails so they looks like they’re from someone you know! So if you receive an email with a link (e.g., www.bankwebsite.com) – even if you think it’s valid – never click on it. Instead, go directly to the website by manually typing your website’s address in your web-browser yourself. And think twice before you click on documents in an email – they’re often booby-trapped!

      3- If a website tries to make you download or install special software so you can view their content, just say no!

      Many malicious websites will try to trick you into installing malicious software by telling you that you need this software to use their website’s services. Then you install their software and they take control of your computer! If you think that you might actually need some special software to use a website, don’t get this software from the website that’s pushing it! Instead, use Google to find the suggested software in question, then go to the software vendor’s main website and install it from there.

      4- If you’re concerned that hackers might break into your email, bank, or brokerage account, use “two-factor authentication”.

      Many legitimate websites, like Google’s Gmail, let you sign up for 2-step login verification. When you try to login, the website will send a confirmation text message to your cellphone, and you have to respond to the text message to complete the login. This two-step process ensures that an attacker with your password can’t get into your account without your knowledge. See: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/

      5- When possible, use unique passwords for each website (especially those that hold sensitive data like banking and brokerage websites).

      If you find it too difficult to remember a unique password for each website, try using an easy-to-remember system to specialize your passwords. For example, use your usual password and tack on the first letter or two from the name of the website you’re logging into. For example, if your normal password is “Pickle” then you could use “Pickle.gm” for your Gmail password and “Pickle.ba” for your Bank of America password. Now even if a hacker grabs your password from one website, they won’t be able to break into your other accounts.

      6- Need to securely check your bank account online? Use an iPhone or Android phone instead of your computer.

      Believe it or not, your mobile device (assuming you haven’t “jailbroken” it) is far safer than your PC or Mac computer. So if you want to securely log into your bank account, do it from your iPhone, iPad or Android phone and your chances of being hacked drop significantly!

      7- Care about your documents, photos and gaming files? Back them up – multiple times!

      The latest malware threats will actually take your documents, pictures and gaming files hostage by encrypting them! Unless you pay the bad guys their ransom, they’ll throw away the encryption key, and your years of memories will be lost. So back up your important files – if possible, to multiple places – to ensure their safety. Use a service like DropBox, Google Drive, or Norton’s built-in backup service.

      8- Make sure to update your system software – turn on automatic software updates!

      Attackers are constantly hunting for flaws in the software running on your computer. Once they find one, they’ll try to attack it to break in. If you always keep your computer’s software up-to-date, the bad guys are less likely to break in. So always turn on automatic updates for Windows, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java and Flash. These are the biggest targets for the bad guys.

      9- Look for a padlock next to a website address when surfing to important websites like your bank.

      When surfing to important websites, always look for a padlock next to the website address in your web browser. For example, when you visit Bank of America’s website, you’ll see a bright green padlock next to the address: https://bankofamerica.com. The padlock is a good indication the site is safe. And if the padlock is green, this is rock-solid evidence.

      10- Remember, fraud doesn’t only happen on the Internet.

      The bad guys don’t limit their attacks to the Internet. They love to use phony phone calls, fake business letters (written on real paper), and other scams. So keep your guard up – even when you’re back in the real world!

      If you found these hints useful and enjoy techno-thrillers, consider picking up Carey’s new mystery novel: The Florentine Deception. It’s available in e-book, paperback and audiobook forms from all major online bookstores. Carey is donating all of his proceeds to charities benefiting under-served students and veterans and has donated $8,000 of his $10,000 goal, so it’s an exciting read for a good cause. For more information, see www.florentinedeception.com.

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