Internet offers a wealth of information and opportunities, for you as well as scammers.
Con artists will try every conceivable way to gain access to your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Their aim: to obtain your personal details and separate you from your hard-earned cash.
Here are 10 tips to help prevent malware, phishing or other fraudulent online practices:
1. Install an anti-virus programme
Use anti-virus software on all your machines. Switch off automatic updates. Scan your machines regularly for viruses, spyware and adware. If provided, you can also use an integrated firewall to monitor your connections.
2. Carry out software-updates
Operating systems, browsers and other programmes have regular updates. Make sure to run them, either manually or automatically, so that you are protected against the latest viruses.
3. Create strong passwords
It’s important to create a password that will bamboozle a hacker. Make it complex and use variety. Include a combination of upper and/or lowercase letters, numerals and other characters. Use different passwords for each site and change your login codes every now and then.
4. Only use the wifi networks your trust
Using public, unsecure wireless internet hotspots may enable eavesdroppers and wiretappers to watch your movements online and intercept your data. It’s a matter of web wisdom not to send sensitive information via networks you don’t know or trust.
5. Don’t open unsolicited email or file
Don’t fall into the trap of unsolicited email messages that contain attachments, (truncated) hyperlinks or login requests. Don’t click on those links. Delete the message.
6. Download your apps from official stores
Use discretion when downloading applications. Download from trusted sources. Don’t use illegal copies. Remember: malware doesn’t affect computers only, it can also harm your mobile phone or tablet.
7. Check the URLs you visit
Double check the addresses (URLs) of websites that ask for personal information. of sites that ask for personal information. Verify the security certificate. Secure websites have a little padlock icon in the web browser address bar. In addition, the website starts with HTTPS as opposed to http. No padlock? Then don’t provide any personal information.
8. Kill pop-ups with task manager
When faced with questionable pop-ups, never click Agree, OK or the X in the top right corner. Press Alt-F4 instead or even better use task manager. Of course, you can also install a pop-up filter.
9. Think before you share
It’s easy to publish information on the web, but it’s very hard to remove those data. So, think before you share online. Social media networks enable you to shield your account from strangers. Don’t give others access to your profile for no good reason. Before giving your personal details, check the organisation and check what it’s doing with the information you provide.
10. Use your common sense
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. This golden rule applies to all special discounts, job openings and other offers you might encounter when surfing the internet. Be on your guard when you see things you don’t trust or know.