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In todays e-age, with spyware, viruses, hackers lurking around you; it is very easy for anyone to become a victim of online fraud or identity theft.

I stumbled upon this informative and exhaustive reading on the web that describes how to avoid such a menace. I have shrinked the original article to suit the general mass of netizens.

Here are 10 measures you can take while accessing the internet to make sure your data is safe.

1. Keep your personal and sensitive data off your computer: If you want to keep your personal data (bank account numbers, passwords etc.), refrain from storing this data on a computer. A flash drive can do that for you. If you need to refer to the documents, just plug in your flash drive. If you really want to store same on your computer, then make sure it is encrypted.

2. Avoid saving credit card info, etc on shopping sites: Many web sites today, such as Orbitz, Amazon, eBay, give you the option to save your credit card info so that you don’t have to type in all the information each time you want to buy something. If someone eventually hacks into their database and downloads your credit card numbers, bank account numbers etc., you're doomed! Always refrain from this practise.

3. Do not use the same password for everything on the Internet: You don’t have to keep a different password for every site but definitely not just one. Make sure passwords are different and more complicated thus increasing your password's strength. Just throwing in a number or symbol at the end will make it hundreds of
times hard for a person to crack your password!

4. Always think before providing information when solicited: If you ever get an email that has a link in it that requires any personal information, make sure you go to the web site yourself manually by typing in the address. Half the time links in emails point to fake addresses. And just because a web site exists does not mean it it legitimate! If you’ve never heard of the site before, try Googling before you dig in.

5. Only connect to secure wireless networks if you can: If you have a home wireless network, secure it quickly! Connecting to non-secure wireless networks is inviting trouble. Avoid them!

6. Clear your browser’s cache after an online transaction: Sometimes your browser will save certain information you typed into forms, etc when you are online, so it’s always good to clear that after you’re done. If you get a pop-up message from your browser asking you whether you want it to automatically save your passwords etc., click NO.

7. Make sure anti-virus and anti-spyware are installed and up-to-date: Anti-virus programs like Kaspersky Anti-Virus or free programs like AVG are good. Suggested is that you also have an anti-spyware program also installed. Many anti-spyware applications are available for free on the web and they are good too.

8. Turn off your computer or on standby when you’re not using it: If your computer is on, then a hacker, virus, or anything else possibly can harm your computer. Make sure you turn off or put your machines into sleep mode when not used. Why open it to attack if you’re not using the computer?

9. Make sure the URL has an HTTPS instead of HTTP: The S makes all the difference! This means that the communication between your computer and their server is secure and encrypted. Passing unencrypted data over the net = making your data public.

10. Use a secure Internet browser when you are online: Firefox is considered more secure than IE and that’s what a number of sites also have tested. IE 7 has more security features than ever before, but it still has lots of holes too. Using a secure browser can help protect against browser hijacking etc.


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