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Protect Yourself Online [Page: 2 of 2] (TTID #294)

Author: eXtremeReviews.net   Views: 4,297 /  Created: March 23, 2004
* republished with permission from eXtremeReviews.net

Author: Michael Larabel
Editor: James Pardoe


Adware & Spyware:

Often while downloading freeware, spyware & adware will slip onto your system. Spyware & adware have also been increasing in their severity. The objective of these pests is to record what you do on your computer with the objective to feed you customized advertisements. Most of the time, you are unaware that adware & spyware have even infected your system. Two programs I would recommend downloading are Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware.

Domain Names:

If you have ever registered a domain name you know all the information you need to fill out, yet you may be unaware that information you filled out is available to the public. All you simply need to do is perform a WHO IS query. One such way to search for the domain name registrar is via ARIN.net or similar websites. Several different companies allow you to hide this personal information for a small fee. One advantage of this domain name lookup is the capabilities to look up the owners of websites whom you need to get in contact with due to crooked business dealings or other such matters.

Profiles:

If you or your children communicate on any of the popular messenger services such as MSN or AOL, they have the abilities to create a profile. A profile is basically a mini webpage where the user can type in whatever they desire. In many cases, the user adds personal information about themselves, which can be viewed by any other member on the network.

E-mail:

All of us transact large amounts of email on a daily basis. However, if you are like me and you're annoyed by the increasingly large amounts of spam you are receiving in your email inbox, below are a few tips, which you may find useful. They should help reduce the amount of spam you are receiving in your email inbox.

  1. Create multiple email addresses – One for business, one for family & friends, and one for other activities. Often when you sign up at forums your email address is posted with every message that you write. This makes it very easy for spammers to harvest all the email addresses on the forum, which are then used for spamming. It is best if you create one email address specifically for all activities that you do online where you have to fill out forms.
  2. Create longer email addresses – Spam generators often just create strings of words and names from a dictionary in an attempt to email someone with an active address. You are less likely to get spam if your email address is longer than eight characters and uses a series of letters and numbers.
  3. Auto respond messages – If you put up an auto respond message for your email address for whatever reason, it is advisable that you stop doing it. First, if you put up a message saying your out on vacation, people can see this and they could then potentially vandalize or break into your home or office. Secondly, auto respond messages reply to spam which just confirms to the spammers that your email address is valid.
  4. In connection with point 3, it is strongly recommended that you block spam emails instead of unsubscribing to them. By unsubscribing, you are just confirming that your email address is active and so the amount of spam you receive will just increase.

These tips should hopefully help you to receive less spam in your inbox.

Passwords:

Your banking, email, and any other personal information is often password protected, this means that your security is only as strong as your password. Below are a few tips that should help you protect your confidential information from being hacked.

  1. Make sure that your password is not the same as your username – This may sound silly, but too often, that is what people do in order to remember their information more easily. A secure password should be in no way related to your username.
  2. Your password should not be taken from the dictionary – Hackers can use programs, which try every word in the dictionary and then start to generate word combinations. If you have a simple word, it will only take a few hours to hack. By creating a variety of letters and numbers, the time taken to crack your password will increase to months or even years, and the odds of guessing it will decrease drastically.
  3. Length – The longer your password, the longer it will take someone to crack. It should be at least eight characters.
  4. Change your password – Changing your password every few weeks is another good measure to take.
  5. Try not to use the same password for every site you visit – Use a separate password for the more secure sites that you visit in order to reduce the risk of having your password discovered.

Some of the information in this guide may sound simple, but a large percentage of the population still doesn't know these important facts. With this basic information, we hope that your awareness of the risks will increase, and help you to improve your security online.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this guide, please feel free to contact us.

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Revision History:

11.23.2010 - Updated WhitePages and US Search links. - KG

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