The internet has passed from being a ‘fad’ to an integral part of your lives. We can’t go through the day without at least going online to check our emails or our Facebook account. We have also come to rely on the internet for many transactions that we used to do the more traditional way – actually going out and doing it. Now, we can shop online and even handle our bank accounts without leaving the comfort of our homes. But this reliance on online transactions has also resulted in the creation of a new problem – online identity and information theft. The media has created such a big specter involving identity and information theft. But if you are careful and you know what to do you can prevent this from happening to you.
First, you should realize that the internet is inherently an open environment. There really is a likelihood that unsecured information will be accessed by other people. That’s why you should be conscious about sharing your information online. Make it a practice to share as little information online. Just share the information that is needed and not anything else. If you’re signing up for a membership online, fill out information but leave out anything that is not required.
Make sure that your computer is protected by turning on your firewall. Your computer’s firewall is a set of software instructions that stops any unauthorized access to your computer when you are online or part of a network. Your firewall will be responsible in filtering all of the data that leaves and enters your computer. This is one of the most important levels of protection for the information stored inside your computer.
Make sure that you have antivirus software installed on your computer and make sure that the virus definitions are up to date. There’s really no excuse to not installing antivirus software on your PC because this software is widely available and there are even free software that you can download. Practically all antivirus software automatically updates its virus definitions and you also get a prompt to inform you about these updates.
Vigilance is the key to protecting your information from being stolen. One of the things you need to be vigilant about is with cookies. These pieces of information are downloaded to a folder in your computer whenever you visit web sites. The bad thing about cookies is that there are some that already contain a lot of information about you and this is information that a person who gain unauthorized entry to your computer will zero in on. Filter the web sites where you’re willing to accept their cookies. You can customize the cookie settings in some web browsers.
The auto-fill feature is a very handy tool especially if you’re tired of always typing in the same data over and over again. But to make the auto-fill feature work, your information needs to be saved first. This is okay if you’re using your own computer. But if you’re using a public computer make sure that you don’t enable auto-fill.
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