Cyber criminals like cyber shoppers.

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With the holidays fast approaching many people will be turning to the online arena to locate that last minute gift or that one item that is only found online. While this is important to many and a necessity for others there are a few things to look out for so you do not become another cyber victim.

  1. Do not enter any online competitions with the hopes of winning a free item. Most of these schemes require personal information and you end up lost in cyber space when the damage is done.
  2. Do not fall into the LIKE trap on Facebook where if you like it you could win it type of thing. Becoming a victim of this scam will most likely prompt you to start a petition to have a “wish I never did that button”.
  3. Verify any emails that contain a phrase like, there has been a problem with your delivery (if you buy a lot of things and have them shipped to you house). If you are not sure how to verify if an email is authentic or not you can send us an email and we’ll explain. Also, for everything you cherish in life, DO NOT open a link from an email that you are not 100% sure of who it came from. If it is an email from a friend or family member, call them to see if they sent you something before opening the email and realizing you just made a very large mistake.
  4. As with the online competitions, stay away from online gift carding. If you want to purchase a gift card for someone, go to the store and buy it directly.

These are just a few things to look out for and if you are the one who does the above, and more on a regular basis and noting has happened to you (yet), congratulations and good luck.

Backing up your files can be seen as a security practice.

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There are many people out there that depend on technology in many different ways. Everyone has something saved on their computer that they would like to keep which could range from a letter, book they are writing, photos, videos, music, a recipe, and much more. With that said, many of us tend to forget how easily that information can be lost and most of the time once it is lost you will either lose it forever (depending on the circumstances) or will need to spend a considerable amount of money to have whatever was lost recovered. A good and simple way to protect these important files would be to invest in an external hard drive, that way, if something did happen to your computer you would still have your most important items. However, do some research on which external hard drive to purchase and on which will suit your storage needs. In addition, you should know that the external hard drive could face the same risks as your computer. This is why it would be important to store your external hard drive in a secure location.

 

Passwords

Technology has advanced in many ways over the years and will continue to advance. With such advancements, online users are able to do more such as banking, shopping, having social media accounts, etc…With all this web activity users will need some type of protection and the first and sometimes only form comes from passwords. For those of you who have multiple accounts in various virtual arenas such as myself cannot afford to become password lazy by creating easy and short passwords as this can seriously put your online security at risk. Creating passwords that are unique, longer, and have a sronger rating will afford you with better protection (not all are full proof). The name of the password game is to have a password that is difficult to guess. Not using personal information, using numbers & symbols along with upper & lower case letters and not using the same password for multimedia accounts will increase your online security and privacy. I recommend using short or long sentences or a phrase that is unique to you. However, as stated earlier passwords are not full proof, sone just provide a little more protection than others. 

Online kids

Many children in today’s society are spending a lot of time online & some are fairly good at navigating through systems. The internet can be fun, useful, & educational for kids but it can also be dangerous as well. Children can sometimes inadvertently provide too much information online causing them to possibly become a victim of some type. To assist with keeping your child safe online talk to them about their internet usage, talk to them about online dangers such as online predators & cyberbullies, & learn as much as you can so you can implement informed decisions  regarding your online kid. You could also limit the amount of time your child spends online as internet addiction can become a quick issue. As mentioned earlier there are benefits the online environment can have for children but spending too much time online may affect a child’s personal life. As the parent: communicate, educate, & be involved with your online kid. 

Security and common sense

The biggest threat to a computer & a computer system is the user of said technology. Human error can be mitigated through training/being educated & a little common sense. Users should be cautious when providing personal information online as to avoid becoming a victim of a virus, scam, or something more such as identity theft (many more threats). Developing good online practices, running/updating your antivirus scans, & understanding that no one security measure is fullproof enough to protect your system are some basic steps that can assist with the information security process.