Threats, in any shape or form, are not welcomed by any individual. While there are many measure that you may utilize on a daily basis to protect yourself physically, it should not be taken for granted that Internet threats can be just as detrimental.
Understandably, not everyone has the requisite knowledge to go about safeguarding their personal information, so here are some of the top measure you can explore to protect yourself from Internet threats:
Do NOT trust unsolicited emails
There are many individuals who spent hours concocting ways to gain access to your valuable personal information. It is often advised that you delete all emails that you receive from individuals and entities unknown to you because this could be a ploy to deposit or exploit a crack in your system. In many instances they will ask you to enter a password or some other sensitive data. A red flag should be raised right away. This course of action is officially referred to as phishing and has proved to be the downfall of millions of Americans. Even if you start entering the information and subsequently choose to close the page, depending on the ingenuity of the website, your information could already have been gathered.
A machine can be infected through the different websites and links that you visit, so avoid the ones that you are not familiar with. The same goes for those pop-ups that will appear each time you open a page inviting you to play a game or that you won a prize.
Do not leave it all to your antivirus
Having a top notch anti-virus software is definitely a high recommendation for any individual who uses their personal computer to execute not only leisure activities but business as well. While they are designed to prevent and keep away all malicious content from your PC, this does not mean that you should be reckless in your web surfing attributes.
Some may argue that viruses are being created every day for the purpose of slipping by the software you have installed, so help it to help you and stay away from all possible sources that could turn out to be an Internet threat.
Be careful with social media
Using Facebook, Twitter and the other popular social media platforms is a fun way to keep up with the times. Having said that, people tend to be too liberal with the information they disclose and think little on the consequences of such actions. For those criminals who participate in identity theft, these platforms are the perfect hunting grounds to acquire information that they can use to exploit an unsuspecting socialite. There are some who need nothing more than your full name, your date of birth and the town you reside to go about exercising exploitation measures.
There are also those online scammers who are more assertive with their efforts – they will look to befriend you and strike up regular conversations until they have managed to know you inside out. Not everyone can or should be trusted.
Contract a secure Internet service provider
There are a great number of ISPs operating in the United States, but not all of them employ the best of security features for their service. Before signing any contract, do as much homework as you can to ascertain which ISP would be able to provide you with the most secure network.
Perform online transactions on a separate computer
There are malware that operate as key-loggers, capturing every keystroke entered into your computer keyboard. If you use for PC for a lot of personal pleasures and you are not certain of its security efficiency do not run the risk of using it to enter your sensitive information. This could be just what a cybercriminal is hoping for.
Perform regular maintenance and updates
One of the best ways to guarantee your Internet protection measures are effective is to constantly perform a check up on the system. Do a full sweep and get rid of all broken files and unknown or unwanted software if they arise. A scan of your PC every two to four weeks could prove to be the difference between preserving your sensitive information or having it accessible to all miscreants who have the “know how” to acquire and exploit it.
Some people may take it for granted that their personal information is safe, but here are a few consequences of such an action:
- Severe financial ramifications
It is a common practice for these cybercriminals to perform as much harm as they can before the issue is uncovered. Therefore, they will use the opportunity to drain your bank accounts, take out loans as well as compile a lot of charges on your credit cards.
This not only affects you in the short term – with you trying to fit the pieces together – but in the long term as well, given the reality that your credit score will be significantly damaged. Stopping the attack before it’s too late should never be the first option. That should be preventing one from ever occurring.
- A criminal history report
While it is acknowledged that in most instances the purpose of ID theft is for financial exploits, this is not the only purpose. Your information can be passed on to law enforcement authorities by an actual criminal offender who has forged documents bearing all your particulars. You could find yourself with an outstanding warrant with no idea whatsoever that it exists.