In this digital era, it pays to be just as diligent when it comes to virtual properties as it does physical ones. These seven steps can help you create a more secure environment that protects your family from online attacks.
7 Steps to Better Security Online
(Family Features) Virtually no one would park a car in a busy area, leave the keys in the ignition, roll the windows down and walk away. Yet many people who would take precautions to protect their vehicles leave access to their personal and financial information wide open. In this digital era, it pays to be just as diligent when it comes to virtual properties as it does physical ones.
These seven steps can help you create a more secure environment that protects you from online attacks.
Make your device a fortress. Whether you’re using a desktop, laptop or mobile device, taking proper precautions to safeguard the device itself is your first line of defense. Use reliable internet security software, apply firewalls, block pop-ups and prevent sites from logging your location. Make it a habit to log out of websites and regularly delete your history and cookies, especially if you’re using a public system or one that others access regularly.
Shop smart. Only make purchases from encrypted sites and limit purchases to a single credit card that you regularly monitor. It’s a good idea to make online purchases using a card with a clear policy about your liability in the event your card number does get stolen or you unknowingly purchase from a fraudulent seller and need to recoup your funds.
Be wary of strangers. Although social interaction with people you’ve never met is the norm via chat rooms and other internet-enabled sources, it’s still smart to treat those encounters with caution. Never divulge personally identifying information or financial details, and avoid opening emails or following text or message links from unknown senders.
Keep privacy in mind. Know that virtually anything you post online can become public at the hands of someone with ill intentions. This even applies to things you post that you intend only for friends and family to see, as one of them can easily copy and forward on your photos, words, etc. If you’d be worried about the general public seeing it, don’t post or share it.
Go ahead, be vain. Looking for yourself online isn’t really an ego move, it’s a smart one. Periodically searching your own name could reveal information in the public domain that you’d rather keep private or it could point to potential identify fraud.
Monitor your credit and accounts. Particularly if you have an active online life, whether for social, work or practical purposes like banking or shopping, pay close attention to your credit and bank accounts. Hackers find all sorts of ways to get to your identity, but regular monitoring can help you identify a problem before it spirals out of control.
Manage passwords responsibly. If you’re like most people, you probably use the same (or a variation of the same) password across numerous accounts. It’s human; it’s easy to remember. However, once a thief or hacker figures out your log-in credentials, all of your personal information and finances are ripe for the taking. Avoid repeating passwords across multiple sites and change passwords often for better security.
For more tips to protect your family’s privacy and stay safe while online, visit eLivingToday.com.
4 Tips to Make Sense of Cyber Security
It’s no secret that kids have a sense of invincibility. While that trait can bring some endearing reminders of the innocence of childhood, it can also have some highly unfortunately consequences. In the context of cyber security, an action by an unknowing child can impact the entire family.
The majority of U.S. households are filled with devices that pose a potential threat to your personal security. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Security Survey by Trend Micro, nearly half of households have two or more computers and nearly a third have three or more smartphones.
Despite the many benefits of a highly connected world, the potential for danger is strong. While there are plenty of parental controls and blocks available, they aren’t foolproof. Educating children about potential risks and how to avoid them with these tips from Trend Micro can go a long way toward protecting your family from potential cyber problems.
1. Understand what you’re saying yes to. Be involved, knowledgeable and interested in the devices, apps and sites your children use for school and for fun. For sites they use for school, ask their teachers for more information. For apps they’re using at home, spend 15 minutes trying it yourself.
2. Use privacy settings and features. Make sure you understand what privacy protections your browser or devices offer for your family when your kids are accessing their favorite sites, apps and online services. Many browsers allow you to prevent sites from tracking what you do and where you go online, so spend some time looking at web browser settings to see what privacy options are available to you.
3. Use features and services available within an app or website. Also take a look at the privacy settings available in the specific apps, websites or games your family uses. Most will let you have a private account, which means the whole world won’t be able to see what you post or who you’re connected to.
4. Remember that being online is a public life. Nothing is truly private online. If you and your family keep this in mind, it can help you all think through what you are about to post, like and click on, as well as who you connect with online.
Explore more ideas to keep your kids and family safe online at internetsafety.trendmicro.com.
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(BPT) - Do you know what to do with that old computer monitor sitting in storage? What should you do with a retired PC or tablet? If the items cluttering your home were newsprint, plastic bottles or aluminum cans, you would know exactly what to do with them - recycle! But if you're unsure how to recycle technology, you're not alone.
Nearly 80 percent of American households have old technology sitting around, according to a recent survey by Staples. Most people with old, unused tech devices have one to five pieces they'd like to get rid of, but less than half know how to recycle it, the survey found.
"You make a lot of changes when you're trying to live a greener lifestyle, from recycling all the plastics your family uses to choosing more energy-efficient appliances," says Toni Hammersley, blogger at A Bowl Full of Lemons. "Fortunately, you can also green your digital life by recycling old technology you no longer use. Staples will take a slew of your old and unused technology products right in-store for free to help you responsibly and easily recycle."
Recycling technology is good for the environment, the EPA says. Valuable resources like metals, plastics and glass can be reused; every 1 million cellphones recycled yield 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium, according to the EPA. What's more, recycling or donating electronics reduces consumption of natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and air and water pollution associated with making new materials.
Hammersley, an organizational expert, offers some tips for recycling tech:
* You can recycle old office technology that no longer works for free by taking them into your local Staples. The store will accept the computers, monitors, printers and numerous other types of electronics for recycling - free of charge. For more information on the program and a list of tech items that can be accepted into the free recycling program, visit Staples online.
*You can also trade in eligible technology to receive a Staples eCash card that you can use toward your next in-store or online purchase. The laptop that's too slow for your gaming activities might qualify for a trade in and get a gift card to put toward new technology or anything else you need within the store.
* Equipment that still works can also be donated. Goodwill accepts technology items for repair and recycling and schools, churches, charities and other community organizations in your area may accept older tech that's still usable. You can also find computer donation organizations with a simple online search. Before you donate any piece of technology, be sure that the organization can use it and you won't burden them with items they might have to recycle. Also be sure to delete all your personal information, including files, documents and apps that may contain personal information. Staples provides this service in stores through their Tech Services.
"Clutter of any kind can stand in the way of organization at home or in the office," Hammersley says. "Recycling is one of the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible ways to get rid of any kind of clutter - including old technology."
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