It's Like Having an Online Mall
You can bank, make travel arrangments, order fast food, pay bills, window shop, and purchase just about anything, all online. No doubt that when you visit the mall, you leave unneeded credit cards at home, lock your car before entering the mall, and keep a close eye on your wallet or purse. Do you do the same with your online transactions? Here are some tips to protect yourself.
Note: Don't forget to visit the Related Links section for videos, such as the "12 Scams of Christmas", and more.
Avoid the Seven Online Blunders
- Assuming your security software is protecting you
- Accessing an account through an e-mail link
- Using a single password for all online accounts
- Downloading free software
- Thinking your Mac shields you from all risks
- Clicking on a pop-up ad that says your PC is insecure
- Shopping online the same way you do in store
Money Matters: If possible use a computer dedicated to banking and other financial transactions.
Three More Tips for Safe Shopping Online
- Make sure you're browser has the current updates. Visit Safe Browsing for details.
- Beware of potentially deceptive fee-based download services.
- Use a device that provides an "extra layer of account protection".
Or Visiting a Favorite Watering Hole
Similar to your online shopping experience, the Internet can also be like your favorite watering hole: providing a place to chat with friends, meet new folks, display your talents and share your interests, and even let off a little steam.
Like your trip to the mall, its good to be prepared before venturing out for the evening's fun, making sure you have the right address, that you know a bit about the people you'll be meeting there, and taking care not to overdo it and say something you didn't intend to. You should take the same precautions online.
It's Not Being Anti-Social, It's Being Safe
Concerned about your identity and privacy when surfing the web? Remember these 5 key points:
- Think of social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace.
- Be cautious about meeting new friends.
- Think twice before clicking on an attachment.
- Guard your financial and sensitive data.
- Protect your computer.
Facebook and Privacy
Facebook and its privacy settings are periodically in the news, often because they make a change that requires an action by its users to update their settings. For example, Facebook recently began to require its users to designate personal information as publicly linkable "Links," "Pages," or "Connections," or to no longer make such information available.
There are some nasty surprises lurking online or arriving in your mailbox that could threaten you and your computer. Learn how not to be commandeered at Malware Menaces: Viruses, Spyware, Botnets & More.
It All Boils Down to . . .
Common sense, staying alert, having a healthy suspicion, i.e., take precautions online that you would when meeting strangers or shopping at the mall.
- Abine (privacy suite: DoNotTrackMe, MaskMe, DeleteMe)
- Adblock Plus, AdBlock, AdSweep for Chrome & Opera (blocks ads)
- Beef Taco (no ad tracking)
- Betterprivacy (no tracking from Flash)
- Disconnect (no tracking from major sites)
- DuckDuckGo (search engine alternative that doesn't track you)
- Ghostery (no third party tracking)
- Incognito Browsing
- RequestPolicy (manage your third party tracking)
- RefControl (manage what gets sent to sites)
- McAfee's Twelve Scams of Christmas | Comedic take on McAfee's list (video)
- OnGuardOnline.gov: Online Shopping Tips (short video providing an excellent summary) | Cyber Monday Shopping Tips | Happy Holiday Shopping | Shopping Online
- StaySafeOnline.org: Online Shopping
- Two-factor authentication - PayPal | RSA | Google (2-step verification)
- Three ways to test your "virtual street smarts": Beware Spyware | Phishing Scams: Avoid the Bait | Spam, Scam Slam: Don't Be Fooled!