Monday, June 24, 2013

Combat Internet Crime - How to Save Yourself from Costly Attacks

Everywhere you go you hear talk of the increasing issues of cyber crime. What many people don’t know is that cyber crime does not just involve hackers. These crimes include any criminal act dealing with computers and networks. Traditional crimes such as credit card threats, hate crimes, and fraud are becoming extremely prevalent in the internet world.  The growing threat of cyber crime has become a great concern to people everywhere. You can alleviate your stress and control a majority of the risk when it comes to internet crime.

How can you protect yourself?

1.      Use preventative measures
All of your computers should be installed with spyware or antivirus programs. Viruses will always be present. You’ve probably heard “The best defense is a good offense,” this holds true when it comes to computer protection as well. These programs allow you to protect your property by being proactive. The installation of antivirus programs and active updating will allow for a secure computer.
2.      Passwords are important!
Passwords are of extreme importance on any site. They allow you access confidential information, while keeping unwanted users out. When it comes to passwords remember two key words- variety and strength. To make sure all your accounts are secure you should have a variety of different passwords for every account. This will assure you that just because an outsider gains access to one account, they won’t necessarily gain access to a separate account. The strength of your password is also extremely important.  Your password should be lengthy including upper and lower case letters as well as symbols.

3.      Wireless connections must be secure
You’re sitting at lunch, and the urge to interact on social media sets in. Or maybe you want to do some lunch time shopping.  You realize the there is a network you can have access to, PERFECT! Why not connect your laptop and spend your time on the web? STOP! Is this a secure network? If the internet is not secure anyone can connect to it. This poses a major problem because information passed from your computer to the wireless router can be intercepted by a third party. If the connection is not secure you might as well hand your credit card over to some stranger walking down the street, you are giving your personal information away for free.

4.      Protect your Smartphone
Phones are no longer bricks you use minimally for phone calls and occasional texting.  Your cell phone now acts as a mini computer you use to access email, conduct online banking, shop, and set your schedule. This diminutive object holds most of your life- protect it with a password. Phones are commonly stolen due to their value. Don’t let a thief have access to your personal information as well.

5.      Credit card numbers should not be saved online.
Those of you who are avid online shoppers, of course it seems easier just to save your credit card information on the website. Taking the easy way out could essentially cost you. The website you’re shopping on will more than likely guarantee your information is secure. There are many incidents of past hacking attempts on these “secure sites,” leading to stolen personal information.

6.      Online shop on secure websites
Security issues are becoming more prevalent with the increased participation of online shopping. It is important for consumers to verify they are submitting their information to a secure site. How can you identify a secure site from one that is not secure? All secure sites will have a padlock icon in the address bar, as well as an address that begins with Https.

Cyber crime currently has a higher payoff than drug trafficking. That being said, we can almost guarantee that the criminal activity will not stop anytime soon. Some specialists even estimate that crime involving the internet will begin to surpass all criminal activity. It is impossible for you to control the attacks, but you can control most of the outcomes. Being proactive and aware can help ensure a safe internet experience all around. Learn more at