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Here’s how to practice the steps for safe internet use

(Pixabay Photo)

Computers have become our constant companions! We take for granted these work horses that take us to the virtual bank where we can make a deposit, pay bills or transfer money; allow us to shop to our heart’s content at the virtual store; research potential projects; check out our friends and family on social media; catch up on daily news; learn to fix just about anything; peruse our favorite magazines; and more!

It can all seem so neutral, nonthreatening, personal and private. But the reality is if you shop, fill out personal information or bank online, your financial well-being could be at risk. At the very least, your personal likes and dislikes are being tracked with sophisticated algorithms that invade your privacy.

Even if you are a person who does think about security and practice the fundamental steps to a healthy internet, you have no guarantee that the companies you do business with are protecting your shared info as they should.

Passwords

Kim Komando, who can be heard on KTAR News 92.3 FM on Sundays 4-6 p.m., says the first line of defense is to develop a routine of changing your passwords every 3 months. That is like pulling teeth for most of us.

  • Each account needs its own password. In the event that you are hacked, having the same password on all accounts puts your login at risk.
  • Make sure your passwords are strong.
  • Always choose two-step verification if it is available.

Password managers are a great tool. Kim likes the RoboForm and is offering a deal through her website through the end of the month! A single user is only $11 a year. The RoboForm Security Center audits your passwords, evaluates their strength and produces a Security Score.

If you don’t like the idea of using a password manager, at the very least keep a running document of current passwords in a secure place. If that place is on your computer, make sure it’s in a location that needs a sign-in.

Be in the habit of recording every password as it is changed. This is truly a small price to pay compared to being hacked or having your identity compromised.

Phishing scams

These are attempts to gain your personal information or infect your computer with a virus. If you aren’t sure about an email, don’t open it! Clues that an email is a phishing attempt include bad grammar, outrageous claims or a request for sensitive information. Check the email addresses carefully as well as the website addresses and logos to make sure they are legit. One wrong letter or number inserted in a logo or address is a sure sign of someone’s attempt to convince you they are someone else. Instead of clicking on a suspicious link, type the company name in the URL browser yourself to avoid being taken to a rogue site.

Banking

Make a practice of signing into your online banking at least once a week if not once a day. Take the time to look at transactions and make sure they are legitimate.

Spyware

Be sure to install dependable firewall protection on your computer.

Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi in your home should be password-protected. It will be easy for neighbors and passersby to use it otherwise. When traveling, consider using your cell phone hot spot or purchasing a ho tspot that is password-protected instead of using guest Wi-Fi access.

Browser updates

Make sure your browsers are operating in their most up-to-date version. Older browsers are not as protected by the hosts, which puts you at a greater risk for hacking; your searches could be redirected to malicious sites.

According to Kim, Google has some great features to help with security. There is a password correction extension that helps secure against data breaches. If you sign into a site that Google knows has been breached, the app will direct you to create a new password.

Facebook

Limit Facebook’s access to your personal information. Check out this step-by-step guide from the Komando website for more information. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to limit its access, but by following these steps, you can gain some distance.

The bottom line is that no one looks out for your safety; that’s your job!

Be sure to visit www.Komando.com to keep up with the latest information on data breaches and tips on how to protect your computer.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 7 to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Info@RosieontheHouse.com. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Rosie on the House

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