Staying safe on the Internet

It is a constant challenge to keep your information safe on the Internet. There are a number of ways in which your information can be compromised. You could fall prey to a cleverly worded emails (phishing), fake web sites (spoofing attack), and browser hijacking via misspelling (typosquatters).

All of these attacks can lead to you entering information somewhere that you believe is safe, but your information gets stolen. There are steps you can take to limit your exposure. Don’t click on the link in an email. If you have an email from your bank requesting that you need to login and verify your account, you should use a bookmarked link to access your bank. This will protect you from both a phishing link in the email and a typosquatter stealing your information by showing you a bank login on the resulting page.

Another way you can lose your information online is to have your computer compromised. Your computer usually has a treasure trove of information. It has stored username and passwords, emails of trusted associates, and files that can be mined for information. Once your computer is compromised it can be used to attack other computers, send out spam and phishing emails, or log your keystrokes to steal your online identity.

It is always a challenge to keep your computer secure. If there is a vulnerability for even a short time, one of the Internet scanners could find it and exploit your computer. It is generally a good idea to keep all of your software up to date. Many times computers are exploited via issues that already have been fixed in an update.

It is also important to install antivirus and adware software. Sometimes these will alert you to the fact that something is wrong with your computer other times they will be compromised along with your computer. The goal is not to make your computer impregnable, because that is not realistic, but to make it as hard as possible for someone to break in.

Another possibility is to keep much of your personal information off of your computer. I have spoken with a number of cybersecurity professionals who choose not to bank online and avoid many other online conveniences. This may be an option that you feel comfortable with.

Many other cybersecurity professionals choose to take advantage of the online conveniences. You are never a hundred percent safe online just as you are never one hundred percent safe in the real world. There are many steps that you can take to make yourself a little less vulnerable.

It is important to realize that being on the Internet is a lot like walking around in a big city. You have to continuously pay attention to your surrounding and think defensively. A momentary lapse is all that it takes to put yourself in a dangerous position.

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