With the ever-increasing rise in using social networking websites, e-mail and online shopping, users and consumers need to be increasingly vigilant to guard against cyber-thieves and scammers when entering their credit cards details, home addresses and other confidential information online. Cintas, a US company specialized in providing companies with specialized services of all types, has compiled the following tips for protecting electronic data.
- Limit the amount of information shared online
Stop sharing more information than need be when revealing personal data. On social networking sites, avoid revealing addresses or other compromising information and share personal information only with people you can trust. Make sure all family members are aware of what’s considered appropriate information to share online.
- Strengthen passwords
Strong passwords are composed of a combination of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters and symbols. Avoid passwords that can be easily guessed, such as birthdays or maiden names (Consider reading a previous post about the Worst 25 passwords in the year 2011). Avoid using the same password across multiple online accounts. With unique passwords, if one account is compromised, other accounts are still protected. To help you keep track of your passwords, consider using an open-source password manager, like KeePass.
- Review website security settings
Make sure websites are secure before providing personal information. Secure website URL addresses start with “https://” and can be recognized by a lock located on the page. When making online purchases, use reputable and recognized websites. Look for trusted site seals, like VeriSign.
- Regularly update your antivirus software
Rule of thumb: to keep your computer protected from malware, viruses and spyware, ensure antivirus software is up to date. Don’t be a statistic, act fast and before abusers.
- Practice safe online behavior
Access personal information, such as bank accounts, personal documents and email, from private computers. Only in emergencies and urgent cases, access your private information through a public computer, but make sure you properly log off of personal accounts before ending the session by closing each window, and stay on the safe side, change the password afterwards and from a trusted PC.
[Image credit: Flickr/theatomiclizard]