Good Security Habits

The following tips are good security habits that everyone should develop. Also be sure to check out How to Protect Myselfand How to Protect My Computer.

Keep Operating System Up to Date

Keep your operating system up to date with the latest software and security patches. Security software only detects new threats when you keep it current. Run regular scans on your computer to locate spyware and other malicious software, which can collect your personal and confidential information, monitor online shopping, or record your keystrokes, leading to identity theft.

Choose a Secure Browser

Before you purchase items over the Internet or send personal information, be sure to check if your connection is secure. Does it begin with https? Is there a lock or secure icon on the page? Also look to see whether the site posts a privacy policy that describes how they collect your information and what it is used for. Check the wireless tips to learn how to secure your connection.

Backup Your Computer

No matter how careful you are with your computer, there's a chance that something will happen causing you to lose some or all of your data. The best way to protect yourself is to make a habit of backing up your files and store them safely in a location away from your computer. Backing up files can be tedious, but the first time you need to recover something important, you'll be glad you took the time to do it. And remember, always save as you work! More tips on Backups.

Be Conscious of File Sharing

Before setting-up file sharing software, consider the risks. You may be providing access to files you didn't intend to share, such as tax returns, e-mail messages, or other personal information. You could also unwittingly download viruses, pornography, or copyright protected materials. Be sure to read the license agreement and carefully check the privacy settings.

Check the Paper Trail

Don't forget about paper shred documents that contain personal information (bills, statements, etc.) and junk mail that could be used for financial purposes, such as credit card offers, when you are done with them. Always check your credit history and account statements to verify there hasn't been suspicious activity. Remember, you are entitled to a free credit report every year from each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies.