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5 Ways to Improve Your Online Security

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

The age of Internet brings about a new set of dangers that accompany us in everyday life, and if you want to reap all the benefits provided by high tech without the risk of getting into serious trouble at every turn, you can’t do without some basic knowledge on how to avoid online threats and secure yourself from hostile activities.

Password Security
With the amount of accounts in different services, websites, banks, shops and such one has to deal with today, it is increasingly tempting to think up just one password for all of them and use it for all registrations. It is hardly a good idea, though. Firstly, passwords used by most people are fairly easy to crack, even by brute force attack. Secondly, if you use the same password to control your bank account and to register on a third-rate forum, you are asking for trouble.
You’re much better off using a password manager or creating your own algorithm of creating passwords for different websites that would be easy to remember.

Use an ID Protection Service
The sheer scale of identity theft and associated activities has led to the appearance of numerous ID protection organizations, with different sets of services suitable both for individual people and companies. You may find comprehensive descriptions of them, for example, on IdTheftAuthority.com – if you want to keep track of all your bank account and prevent credit card fraud and other similarly unpleasant eventualities they are certainly worth considering.

Anti-Viral Protection
Today computer viruses, Trojans and worms rarely crash your system or delete your data – they pursue more practical goals, like stealing your passwords, numbers of your credit cards and similar information. Even a 30-symbol password isn’t going to protect you from malicious software reading your keystrokes from inside your system. What you can do to avoid it? Have dependable anti-virus software running at all times. Check suspicious files with VirusTotal or similar services. Try not to visit dubious websites if it can be helped.

Don’t Click Mail Links
Never click on links in emails unless you are absolutely sure they are safe. Even if the mail comes from a trustworthy source – the email address could have been hijacked by malware to spread itself. This goes double for emails seemingly coming from banks and other financial institutions asking you to log in – they are almost certain to be scams.

Scan Your Downloads
Never open email attachments or downloads directly from the browser. Download them first, run them through your anti-virus, check them through online anti-virus aggregators, and only then you may, tentatively, open them. It still pays to avoid downloading files from potentially dubious sources – even a seemingly excessive anti-viral check sometimes fails to detect malicious software.
In the long run, your best protection against online dangers isn’t any kind of software – it is your own common sense. When you are about to do something online, ask yourself if it is a good idea, if it is risky, and if this risk is worth it – and everything will be alright.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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