Guarding Your Internet Security and Privacy
By Virginia DeBolt on May 31, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
There are always new threats and viruses and malware facing those of us who are spread around the Internet on multiple sites. It is time for a review of the basics as well as a look at some of the new threats. Don't make it easy for the bad guys to get in.
Image Credit: Aunt Owwee
These tips are from 403 Web Security, a secure web applications company.
1. Choose Your Password Wisely - Most people get lazy and reuse their favorite password over and over. One of these days, some site that you are a member ofwill grudgingly give up your login information and that hacker who just stole your login information may have just found out your “favorite” password. Even for those of you whose favorite password is something totally un-guessable, the reuse of any password opens you up to a hacker breaking into your account on other, more important sites. Avoid having your information stolen. Protect yourself with varied and unique passwords.
2. Invest in Antivirus Software - While picking the right vendor can be overwhelming –the most important fact is that you will have protection no matter what service you choose. The software will not protect you 100% but will increase the safety of your computer tremendously. Beware of fake notifications and emails that are posing as your antivirus software provider. DO NOT click on these offerings unless you are positive of their legitimacy.
3. Use Caution With Email Attachments – Email is an extremely common vehicle for attack because of its ease of use and popularity. Be skeptical of unsolicited attachments, even from your mother. Many viruses can imitate the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else. If you have the slightest bit of concern do not open the attachment and double check with the sender to see if it really was from them.
4. Install a Firewall - Firewalls provide protection against outside attackers by defending your computer/network from malicious or unnecessary Internet traffic. Firewalls are especially important if you are traveling and are constantly using different networks and can help prevent outsiders from gaining unwanted access. Firewalls are offered in two forms: hardware (external) and software (internal).
5. Backup Your Data – Sometimes your data will be compromised even if you take cyber security seriously. If a hacker really wants to attack your computer, they will most likely be able to find a way. Backup to multiple destinations like an external drive, CD-ROM, online and even to other computers for optimal protection.
Here are more resources from 403 Web Security
A good source of information about Internet privacy is a how-to booklet from Security in a Box. Section 7 of the booklet is about privacy and covers securing email, responding to suspected email surveillance, and securing other Internet communication tools such as instant messaging. In Chapter 9, you can find out about using a mobile phone securely.
For Mac Users
There's a new malware attack on Mac computers. Lifehacker tells how to defend against Mac Defender. Mac Defender sounds like a product to protect you, but it's actually not. It's also called MacGuard, MacProtector, and MacSecurity at times.
Resources from Beth
In Privacy and Security on Social Networks, Beth's Blog offers numerous resources for protection on social networks. Beth is where I learned about Security in a Box. She observes,
A colleague recently shared this video that pokes fun of the “always on, gotta share everything on social networks” lifestyle for many people here in America. It is a serious issue for professionals here in the US, especially if they work in education or youth service nonprofits.
In many places in the world, sharing everything online can be a life and death matter particularly for activists working in certain countries.
Resources from BlogHer
BlogHer has a group dedicated to Online Safety, sponsored by Intellius. There are dozens of helpful articles in this group's archives. You also benefit from reviewing 13 Passwords Hackers will Never Guess, How to Fix Your Facebook Account if You Get a Virus, Password Security Issues Raised when Twitter Hacked, and many other posts here on BlogHer that help you keep yourself safe and your online life secure.