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5 Tips for Avoiding Spammers, Hackers, and Identity Thieves

Avoiding Spammers, Hackers, and Identity Thieves

You have undoubtedly received spam. Virtually everyone has at some point, but in some cases, it becomes more than just an occasional annoyance. How do you deal with it? How about other, even more grave issues such as hacking and identity theft?

With cyber crime, an inescapable reality of modern life, security has become increasingly important. You should not assume yourself safe and not take precautions, or you may come to regret it later. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy ways to improve your security.

Passwords

This is nothing new. There have been warnings about passwords for years, but people still tend not to pay attention. A significant number of people rely on a single password, or maybe a selection of 2-3 to keep them safe.

But if you are relying on one password, consider the fact that someone discovering, say, your email password, now has access to everything.  And while you might consider yourself to be very careful not to accidentally reveal your password, there are many other ways for someone to uncover it, through no fault of your own. By the time you realize that someone has accessed one of your accounts, they may have locked you out of several, preventing you from changing your other passwords.

The most common complaint when it comes to passwords is that so many sites now require them, and no one wants to have to remember dozens of unique codes, and which site they belong to. Fortunately, you won’t have to do that, as there are password managers that can help you in this regard.

And if you do decide to use multiple passwords but try to keep them simple to help with remembering them, avoid such things as you or your spouse/ child’s birthday, your address, your favourite movie, or anything that people may be able to figure out easily.

It also goes without saying that passwords like 123456789 and 987654321 are also not a good idea.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

This is one that is easy to overlook, but when software receives an update, it is frequently to address security issues. Any time a security flaw is discovered, a patch is released to address it and make you more secure. To make sure that the updates are applied in a timely fashion, ensure that you set Windows Update to automatically install them.

Having notifications pop up and perhaps have you restart on occasion may get annoying, granted, but is it worse that losing important information or suffering some other calamity?

Pirated Software? What Arrrr Ye Thinking?

All judgment aside, using pirated software is not the wisest of moves to make. You honestly never know what you could be getting from file sharing sites. Opening an .exe file from one of those sites could cause massive damage to your system. The program itself could have an issue, or it may have been altered maliciously to cause harm. Either way, it could result in ongoing problems, and potentially even ruin your hardware.

Any programs that you download require caution. Malware is frequently installed via untrustworthy software, which may be delivered by email or popups.

Do not open links unless you recognize and trust them. Also be careful when closing popup windows, as sometimes you think you are clicking to close them but are actually opening them.

Put Up Your Firewall 

Firewalls serve to block unwanted connections to your computer. Windows has a firewall built-in, but it needs to be configured correctly.

You will on occasion see a popup that asks what type of network you are connected to—home, work, or public. It’s important that you choose the right option, otherwise you may be compromising the firewall and putting your computer in danger.

Make Use of Antivirus Software

A good quality antivirus can save you a lot of trouble and headaches, and there is no real reason not to have one. Combining good antivirus software with your firewall will protect you from many potential problems down the road.

Keeping your computer secure should be a priority and given that it is not terribly difficult to do so, it is hard to imagine not taking the steps necessary. A little time and effort are all it takes to potentially save yourself considerable later.