Malicious software apps (“malware”), viruses, and phishing scams are growing in number and sophistication. Data breaches and identity theft are becoming commonplace.
Even among “reputable” sites, there are ever-multiplying ways that your personal data is being tracked, collected, and stored. The use of your personal data, and the manner in which it is saved and secured can create real risks to your privacy and even to your finances.
Being able to maintain your privacy on the Internet is becoming harder, but it’s never been more important.
Here are seven ways you can protect your personal information and privacy online:
1. The Basics
You’re probably already doing these things suggested by organizations like the National Cybersecurity Alliance, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded because they are so important:
If In Doubt, Throw It Out
Since malware and phishing scams are getting more sophisticated, try not to open emails that look suspicious or unusual, especially if they relate to your email, social media, financial services, or utility accounts. Delete these messages.
This goes double for links and attachments in emails related to these kinds of accounts or services — don’t click them unless you are absolutely sure of the source. If you get an email about an issue or past due balance or a refund, rather than click on a link, go to the provider’s website directly and log in to your account there, or call the provider.
Keep your computer’s operating system, browser, and security software up to date. Turn on automatic updates for these wherever possible.
Think Before You Act
Be especially wary and vigilant if an offer demands you act immediately, sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
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