The Internet offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate. But it’s important to keep yourself safe and secure, so you can make the most of it.
There are many different kinds of cyber crime. A criminal might try to gain access to your information – like your email password, banking details or social security number. They might do this by installing malware on your computer, trying to hack into your account, or tricking you into giving them the information. Then they could steal from you, impersonate you or even sell your details to the highest bidder.
Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, basic web safety and security knowledge is important to know. Google offers these five tips to help you stay safe on the web:
1. Use strong passwords. Don’t use the same password on different websites especially for important accounts like your email and online bank. A good password contains a combination of numbers, characters and case sensitive letters.
2. Enable 2-step verification. If using Gmail, enable 2-step verification on your account settings page. When you sign in, you will need to enter both your password and a code you receive from your phone. In the event someone steals your password, they can’t access your account without the extra code.
3. Install updates right away. Always update your operating system, browsers and software as soon as a new version is available. Updates often contain important security fixes. The longer you wait, the longer your computer might be vulnerable.
4. Be wary of suspicious emails and offers. Never enter your password on an unfamiliar site after following a link in an email. Instead, go to the real website directly. Most companies will never email you and ask you for your password or other sensitive information.
5. Scan regularly for viruses. Install a trusted and reputable anti-virus program and make sure it’s up to date. Watch out for fake anti-virus programs that may try to trick you into downloading them using scary looking pop up windows.
Communications Manager at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors