There are many dangers to look out for when surfing the web. Identity theft, harassment and hazardous computer parasites are all just a few examples of what you might have to face during your casual web-surfing activities, so here are a few simple tips to remember when surfing online.
- Choose a long and memorable password
Your password is one of the most important lines of defence when working online. You need to protect it well, and make certain nobody else knows what it is. Try to create a password that uses a mix of numbers, letters and symbols, something that is easy for you to remember but near to impossible for someone else to guess.
- Do not give out information simply because it is requested
Countless websites ask you to give them your full name, date of birth, address, phone number and email address, when all you may want to do is search their catalogs or read messages on a discussion forum. Give as little information as possible, and should they ask for information that does not seem justified, leave and go elsewhere. This includes handing out your password and/or credit card details.
- Always be suspicious
Remember: Anyone, anywhere in the world, can register for an ISP account, and Internet email protocols allow anyone to send a message that appears to be from another person. Never assume that an unsolicited message sent from a known address was really sent by that account.
- Know your software
Malicious software (such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware) often masquerades as legitimate and even useful applications. Think carefully before downloading, installing or running new software, especially anything unsolicited.
- Utilize anti-virus software and stay updated
Anti-virus programs can detect many, but not all, forms of malicious software before they have a chance to affect your computer. Additionally, many problems can be prevented by regularly checking for and installing updates for your operating system, browser, messaging software, anti-virus applications and other programs.
- Clean up after using shared computers
If you share a computer, whether it’s in a public or private setting, make certain to sign out when not using your account. It is also important to learn how to "clear the cache" if you use the computer to browse the internet.
- Contact account-security
If you believe your online account has been compromised or someone else knows your account verification details, contact account-security for assistance as soon as possible.
It is important to remember that by working together, understanding the risks and knowing how to protect ourselves, we can enjoy our online experience more and be less likely to run up against trouble. Surf safely.