15 tips for staying safe online and preventing identity theft

15 tips for staying safe online and preventing identity theft

Summary: What are some simple tips, tricks and best-practice methods of keeping yourself and your digital identity safe from hackers?

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TOPICS: Security
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  • Shop only at reputable websites

    If a clothing or gadget sale online looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a padlock next to your browser address, then a secure SSL encryption is in place, and so any financial details input will at least be encrypted. However, if you see none, steer clear. Fake websites, counterfeit boutiques -- any website which doesn't originate from a reputable source could place your bank account or identity at risk. 

  • Keep data divulging on social networks to a minimum

    As my colleague Zack Whittaker discovered, sending out a single innocuous tweet containing sensitive information can lead to an avalanche of data which can be discovered and taken from you.

    To avoid giving hackers a digital trail, keep the sharing of personal information to a minimum on social networks, and make sure your privacy settings are set as highly as possible. From checking in to a bank and posting it on FourSquare to using GSP technology for sharing your home city or address, a single fact about you can lead to identity theft.

    When asked for security questions, consider using fake details, so even if facts about you are discovered they will not line up with the questions asked to access accounts. 

  • Secure your wireless network

    Just because your wireless network is at home doesn't mean it is secure. Make sure you enable WPA encryption to prevent infiltrators from poaching your bandwidth or monitoring your network without consent -- which can lead to a detailed profile of your website visits. 

Topic: Security

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  • Don't forget VPN

    Good list. You mention the risks of public WiFi. It's good security practice to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when communicating on any public WiFi network. That hides your data from anyone lurking on a public network to steal traffic and data. A search for "VPN providers" will turn up many vendors, and reviews of those vendors. They can be rather inexpensive, and there are even some free ones for simple uses with minimal needs.
    richpond2
  • Make that *ALL* companies.

    "Keep in mind that most companies, and certainly the majority of banks, will never ask you for full passwords or account details via an email."

    Make that *ALL* companies. I know of no companies, not one, that will ever ask you for your account information via email. 20 years ago, some may have done it, but not today.
    CobraA1
  • Re: Image #4 "Do not share your passwords or leave them lying around"

    Consider adding to this list something along the lines of:
    -"Monitor physical access to your computer"
    and
    -"Discourage the saving of passwords within your browser"

    ...because someone with physical access to your computer, and you're
    running certain browsers (Mozilla & Chrome come to mind), browser-stored
    passwords can be revealed in clear text.

    Many people are unaware of how easy it is to reveal their browser-saved
    clear-text passwords. Of course if they're not aware of that, they're
    not likely to be aware to enable a "master browser password" -to help
    prevent exploiting this browser feature.

    Mozilla Firefox: See: http://mzl.la/LGo15N
    Chrome: See: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95606?p=settings_password&rd=1
    johnlindemann
  • Other forms of Protection

    You can use KeyScrambler to encrypt your keystrokes.
    Google Chrome Extension Web Of Trust stops you from going to web sites that may try and install malware.
    HitMan Pro Alert supposedly can protect your computer from CryptoLocker Malware.
    Install Antivirus as well as anti malware (MBAM Chameleon)
    Above all use "Common Sense" and don't get phished.
    ihfwt
  • Australian Dept of Defence publishes Top 35

    Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions

    http://www.asd.gov.au/infosec/top35mitigationstrategies.htm
    bevhost
  • Try Linux

    Don't use Windows + malware.
    JeremyBoden
  • Frequent password changes

    The is disagreement about frequent changes of passwords as this is a major cause of new password burnout.
    Duns Scotus
  • Wi-Fi Security

    thanks charlie.. i suppose there are many articles about securing a wi-fi router but i ran across one, the other day, and bookmarked it:

    http://www.labnol.org/internet/secure-your-wireless-wifi-network/10549/
    redwolfe_98