As time goes on and more and more of our personal information finds its way onto the internet, our chances of falling prey to cyber criminals increases dramatically. All of these “connected” devices that we’ve introduced into our lives, have the potential to make those lives easier, but they can just as easily make our lives a living hell in ways that previous generations could have never imagined.
But don’t let the threat of cyber criminals scare you away from modern technology. In a sense, the threat of having your identity stolen has always been there, it’s just that the criminals in our midst have adapted to the times, and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same. If you want to reduce the risks of conducting your affairs in this high tech world, follow these helpful tips.
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You should never enter information into a website that doesn’t start with https. This is basically an encryption protocol. If a website has it, that means any data you send to that website is protected by a layer of encryption that in most cases, would prevent hackers from stealing it. And you should get in the habit of looking for this on websites you trust to prevent spoofing. This is when you accidentally log into a fake website masquerading as a trusted site, and unwittingly give your information away to identity thieves.
But this is mostly important for sites that you send information to. For instance, Ready Nutrition doesn’t have an https, but most of you don’t send information to us directly. If you leave us any comments or contact us in any Toshiba Canvio Connect... Buy New $112.00 (as of 06:20 EST - Details) way, you’re probably doing it through Disqus or Facebook, which do have https.
Backup Everything That’s Important
It’s a good idea to store your financial and business information outside of your computer, and I’m not talking about the cloud. Store all of your sensitive data and passwords on hard drives and flash drives, and if you like, there are ways to encrypt your storage devices.
This has the added benefit of protecting you from ransomware. If your computer ever locks up and demands payment to fix the problem, don’t fall for it. This is a criminal enterprise, and there’s no guarantee that paying them off will actually fix your computer. There are ways to remove ransomware, but if they don’t succeed, you’ll have everything you need stored separately, preferably in a device that doesn’t directly connect to the internet.
Use Two Different Computers
You may also want to use two different computers for your web surfing, one for regular internet usage, and one for banking and business purposes. This will protect your sensitive information from your normal web surfing habits, which are much more likely to have you stumbling into unsecured websites. Obviously, many of us can’t afford to buy a second computer, but if you get around to buying a new system to replace its aging predecessor, you should consider designating that old computer for strictly business activities. Linux for Beginners: A... Best Price: $20.99 Buy New $24.99 (as of 01:30 EDT - Details)
This may not be the most popular option, but Linux is far more secure than Windows or Apple. While it is possible for Linux to catch a virus/malware/adware etc, because most people use Windows or Apple OS, most malicious software is designed to target those systems instead. Plus, there are literally hundreds of different versions of Linux, many of which can help your old computer run smoothly, so even if you don’t like using it for regular computer activities, it might be a good idea to download Linux on your “backup” computer I mentioned earlier.
And while we’re on the subject of having a second computer, one of the cheaper options is to buy a USB computer. These are tiny single-board computers that often run on Linux, and usually cost less than $100. They are slightly larger than a USB stick, and you can plug them into your computer, so when you turn it on, everything is running from this pocket sized system, instead of your main computer. They’re usually about as powerful as a cheap smartphone, and sometimes have reliability issues, but the technology is improving.