Staying Safe Online

Being online is something that we don’t really tend to think about anymore. We just are. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to stay safe, though. You need to consider things like the security of your ISP (Internet Service Provider), your wireless network, and your computers or other wireless devices that you are using. Everything is linked together and it is all only as safe as your weakest link.

ISPs

Major ISPs will typically include software that will detect and even remove spyware from computers as you use the internet and download things. For example, Suddenlink Internet uses Panda Antivirus. This keeps your computer and its contents protected while you are online. Panda Antivirus is easy to use and comes free to customers who subscribe to the high-speed internet offered by Suddenlink.

In general, ISPs will often do a few things to ensure that their customers have security. They typically:

  • Block connections that are incoming over some of the more well-known ports
  • Block virus, spam and other malware that is sent through email
  • Block certain sites by removing their DNS mappings
  • Block connections that are outgoing to random sites over port 25

Good ISPs will also use a number of controls such as redundancy, firewalls, etc. in order to maintain its service and protect customers.

Wireless Networks

Going wireless means that you will need to connect to an access point to get online – typically a DSL or cable modem – and then to a wireless router that will send signals through the air. Any device that is within range of that router will be able to pull the signal and access the internet.

That is why you need to take precautions. If you don’t, anyone nearby will be able to use your network. This means that your neighbors, passersby, or even hackers can piggyback your network to access any of the information on your device or any device connected to that same network. If any unauthorized person uses the network to send spam or commit a crime, that activity can be traced right back to you.

If you have a wireless network, you might want to think about encrypting the information that is sent using the network. This will keep nearby attackers from having access to the information. Encryption will scramble the data into a code that will not be accessible to others. This is the best way to make sure that your network is secure from intruders.

Your Devices

Keeping your information safe online can mean doing a number of things. The first thing that you need to do is to back up your system regularly. You can choose to do this through a cloud service or on another one of your devices that doesn’t typically connect to the internet, such as an external hard drive, or even a USB flash drive. This is even better when the storage device has flash key encryption that will keep the storage media safe from hackers and from prying eyes.

You probably already know the basics when it comes to protecting your identity online – don’t give out your passwords, use different passwords for each site, make passwords difficult, don’t save personal or payment information, always use HTTPS, and the like. Here are some other things that you might not know about.

You should use a single email address for things like your bank account and credit card info. This gives you an additional layer of protection between your personal and online personas. If you want even more protection, consider using 2 email accounts. One for your financial info and another for those accounts that get hacked frequently such as Amazon, iTunes, Groupon, etc. For those one time site visits that request an email account before you can access the site, use a throwaway email account such as those you can get from Yahoo. This will also cut down on the amount of spam you get.

Hacking is something that is becoming more and more widespread. By paying attention and taking the measures listed here into account, you can protect yourself from being hacked.

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