Here are some simple rules that everyone needs to follow in order to stay safe online.
1. If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it.
If you go to a web site and get a message like, in order to view this content you need to install a plug-in or your plug-in is out of date. Click here to install.
Well, you didn’t go to that site to view something, you were just browsing around or following a link from another page. Why would you want to install a plug-in for something you didn’t go looking for to watch to start with?
If you need to install Adobe’s flash player, go to adobe to download it and not easy download site.com.
2. If you have installed a program, or already have it installed on your computer, keep it updated. Many problems with Windows that allow someone to take control of your computer have already been fixed, often several months ago. But if you don’t update your operating software or programs, you can’t benefit from that security fix.
If you are using Windows and haven’t figured this out yet: Microsoft releases security fixes and updates on the second Tuesday of each month. Its called Windows Update Tuesday. The updates are usually available after 12 pm central time for those who want to check manually, but its just easier to keep automatic updates turned on and checking every day.
3. If its installed and you don’t need it anymore, uninstall it. Its just one less program to keep updated and to worry about.
4. Keep regular backups of your data. Many of the current methods of holding your data hostage can be forgotten about if you have another copy of your files. There are free methods in current versions of Windows and Mac that allow you to make a backup or system image plus a backup. The same goes for your mobile devices.
5. Gone are the days where a certain operating system can’t get attacked or taken control of remotely. Things can happen to Windows based computers, Mac systems, Android phones and tablets and even IOS phones and pads, especially when the bad guy convinces you to do something for them so they can get in or take control.
6. No bank or company is going to ask you to give your password or info via e-mail. Your bank isn’t going to ask you to open an attachment so you can verify your credit card number. Your e-mail provider isn’t going to send you a form asking for your password to reset your transfer quota limit.