Computer safety tips are a dime a dozen and it is just impossible to remember all the do’s and don’t s when it comes to computer safety. Sometimes we need a little reminder that might help to keep us on the straight and narrow. Here are 5 computer safety tips you might overlook:
1—Don’t Open Executable Attachments
If someone sends you a program attachment in an email file (even if they claim it’s something else), don’t open it. This is the number one trick hackers use to install viruses on your computer—if you open the file, you install the virus, possibly bypassing your anti-virus software.
If someone really wants you to install a program on your computer, ask them to send you a link to a review of the software on a reputable site—and then download the software from that site.
2—Don’t Trust The From Address
Email was purposely designed to mimic postal mail in many ways, and one of those ways is the from address. On a regular piece of postal mail, you can write whatever you want in the return address part. I’ve written all sorts of names and addresses in this part: my name, my business name, my parents name (when sending mail for them), etc…
You can do the same thing with the from address in email. Just use your offline email program to change the name and email address to whatever you want.
Unfortunately, hackers can do the same thing. They can send you an email from your mother’s address asking you to send $500 by Western Union Moneygram immediately. When you send the money, you discover it really went to the hackers, not your mother.
The key is never to trust the from address by itself, and if anyone asks you to do anything private, expensive, or out-of-character by email, pick up the phone and give them a call.
3—Beware Of Unprotected WiFi
Anywhere you go where you use unprotected wireless connections is a place where hackers can spy on what you’re doing on the Internet.
You may think that most of the things you do on the Internet are relatively unimportant, but consider how a hacker can abuse them. For example, if you login to your Facebook account over unsecured wifi at a coffee shop, a hacker at the same shop can hijack your Facebook session and pull the same Western Union Moneygram trick described above against all of your friends. It doesn’t take much skill and technology to pull off this sort of attack, so it’s a major threat. Social network privacy is a huge issue, but gaining access to sites likes this can lead to worse things.
Whenever possible, use a wireless connection secured by a password or by the WPS push-button authentication technique.
4—Use SSL For Financial Information
If you need to send credit card or bank information over the Internet, you need to make sure the security is strong enough to protect your information.
The security technology which has been protecting Internet traffic for over 15 years now is the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for HTTP, which is usually written HTTPS for HTTP Secure or HTTP SSL.
It used to be that Web browsers indicated a secure connection to a HTTPS sever by putting a lock icon in the address bar of your Web browser, but then some hackers figured out how to beat that technique, so now every Web browser indicates secure websites a little bit differently.
What they all do in common is that they add color to the address bar when you’re visiting a secure site. Looking for this color, usually green or gold, before you enter any financial information is another one of these computer safety tips which is better than free because it can save you money.
5—Watch Your Passwords
We all know the good old password rules. You know the ones about making your password difficult with a mixture of numbers, upper case, and lower case letters. Also lets not forget that we should never use the same password over and over. But that’s not the security tip I have for you today. My tip is to simply never save your passwords for your computer or browser to remember. You know when you are prompted to save your password? Well don’t do it!
My daughter logs in to her Facebook account on my computer and presses OK to saving the password. When I go to log into Facebook her login details are there and I can login automatically. This does not mean that I am a security risk, but it is if someone else accesses the computer.
Please see my previous computer safety tips published on this blog.