Create a strong password
It is risky to use the same password on multiple sites. If your password for one site is hacked, it could be used to get in to your accounts for multiple sites. A strong password helps you.
- Keep your personal info safe
- Protect your emails, files and other content
- Prevent someone else from getting in to your account
Create your password using 8 characters or more (Title Stream recommends 12 characters or more). With the following guidelines:
- Uppercase (capital) letters. Examples: A, E, R
- Lowercase (small) letters. Examples: a, e, r
- Numbers. Examples: 3, 6, 7
- Symbols and special characters. Examples: ! @ & *
Keep your firewall turned on
A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.
Install or update your antivirus software
Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.
Install or update your antispyware technology
Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at your local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may actually contain spyware or other malicious code. It’s like buying groceries—shop where you trust.
Keep your operating system up to date
Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.
Be careful what you download
Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.
Remove apps & browser extensions you don’t need
As more apps are installed on a device, it can become more vulnerable. Install only essential apps and browser extensions on devices that have access to sensitive information. Avoid installing unknown apps or apps from unknown sources to protect your device and personal info.
Turn off your computer
With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.