Tag: identity theft

Are you taking basic steps to secure your information?

Are you taking basic steps to secure your information?

computer security
Protect Yourself from Computer Crime

It seems like every day there is another scary story about hackers, massive data breaches, and identity theft.  Attacks get more sophisticated each day so how can anyone be safe online? Unfortunately, many of us are suffering from burnout with the seeming hopelessness of securing their PC. The result – we get lazy and start to skip the basic security steps.

No method is fool proof, but many basic steps will provide tremendous protection for your computer.  Strong passwords DO make a difference and its important to use different passwords for each site. A password manager will make it simple to do.  It will also make it feasible to update your passwords periodically for best security.

Another simple safety measure is to use unique security questions and answers.  Remember, if someone does break into one account and you reuse the security question and answers, you’ve made it much easier for the hacker to break into more of your accounts. Don’t use personally identifiable information in your security questions. For example, some websites still ask for things like maiden name. This information can be found online easily so it offers no security at all and can help expose you further to ID theft. You can make your security answer anything – it doesn’t have to match the question.  When you use the security question and answer to recover your password, all that matters to the computer program is that your answer match what you’ve told it originally.  You an list your city of birth as Mars or even hotdog. An unrelated answer is much harder to crack.

Keep your software up to date. Set Windows, your antivirus software, and other programs to update automatically. At a minimum, set them to notify you when updates are available.  Many software updates are security patches to plug recently discovered vulnerabilities.

Don’t click on suspicious links, offers that are too good to be true, or open email attachments that you weren’t expecting.

Doing these simple things will provide a reasonable amount of security without requiring much effort on your part. Considering the potential cost and damage of identity theft, ransomware, or other potential computer security problems, these small actions are definitely worth the effort.