In this day and age, we all have to be careful about how we share information online. Browsing the Web is the single most popular activity on the PC with both the time people spend on the Web and the range of things they can do continuing to grow.
With social networking sites, online shopping, and online banking becoming more common and convenient, the risk of fraud or identity theft continues to grow. This kind of activity is on the rise every year.
This doesn't mean that you can't surf safely online. Quite the contrary, you just need to follow a few simple guidelines to protect yourself and your family and create a safe and enjoyable experience. And given that June marks Internet Safety Month, it's a good time to think about how best to educate yourself and your loved ones on both the risks out there, and the simple ways to prevent them.
"Consumers really need to be proactive in the fight against cyber crime. Staying safe online is a combination of using the latest and greatest security software tools and exercising good judgment and common sense," says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
In honor of Internet Safety Month, here are eight tips to help keep you, your family and your personal information safe online: 1. Manage your e-mail inbox. Delete unwanted and unsolicited email and don't open e-mails from people you don't know. Be cautious about unusual e-mail from people you do know. Some cyber criminals use software to make an e-mail look like it comes from an official organization (like your bank) or someone you know.
2. Always think before you click and treat links and attachments in e-mail and instant messaging with caution. Download files only from sites you know and trust and never open an attachment from someone you don't know. These can contain viruses and malware that can cause your computer to break down or is an attempt to steal personal information. If in doubt, delete it.
3. Use extreme caution when working on a public computer; Do not save your log in information, always log out of Web sites by clicking "log out" on the site (even if you are just stepping away for a few minutes), and never enter sensitive or personal information on a public computer.
4. Be sure your firewall is turned on. A firewall is an electronic fence that helps protect your PC from hackers that may try to steal sensitive information. To turn on your firewall, simply click the start button and open the control panel. Follow the security link and then click 'Turn Windows Firewall on or off.'
5. Protect personal information by using strong passwords. Make sure they are lengthy and incorporate letters, numbers and symbols.
6. When shopping online, be a savvy consumer. Conduct online research to find out what others have to say about their customer satisfaction. Be wary of companies that don't provide any contact information, including a physical mailing address and telephone number. 7. The best way to protect yourself is to keep your security software, operating system and browser up-to-date with automatic updates and practice safe online behavior.
8. New security, privacy and reliability features tools in Internet Explorer 8 can provide you with a more secure Internet experience. It's worth considering downloading it for free. Internet Explorer 8 puts you in control of your safety and privacy online and helps protect you from new threats online.