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Drew: Personal Computer Safety Tips

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

As many shoppers ventured out on Black Friday and the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend to shop for Christmas presents for those special love ones both big and small, a personal computer (PC) was on many shopper’s lists.  As you purchased these items for those love ones there are some safety tips you need to include with your gift to help them protect themselves from cyber thieves.  The safety tips contained in the article are solid safety practices for all of us to follow.

Make sure you have a firewall for the PC.  If you don’t have one, then it makes it easier for hackers to take over your computer and access personal information.  Remember the age of the PC owner does not matter to an identity thief.  Keep your virus protections software updated.

Never click on hyperlinks from someone you do not know.  It has the potential to expose your systems to a computer virus.

Always use a secure browser.  This is software that encrypts or scrambles the information you’ve sent through the Internet.  Look for the lock icon on the status bar.

Be careful when shopping online.  It may be easy but, only use websites with “https” in their address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser page.  Avoid using the automatic log-in feature which saves your user name and password.  Where this feature trims  a few minutes off your transaction time, it is not worth the safety risk.

It is never a good idea to store financial information on your PC.  Make sure you have a strong password.  We reviewed how to create a strong password in an earlier article in November.

Be careful about responding to emails that have a caption “Dear Member.”  Oftentimes these are spoof emails.  Also, be cautious of chain emails.

It is very popular to use your PC in coffee shops, libraries and internet cafes.  This is not wise because someone could be shoulder surfing.

When you complete your work on your PC make sure you always sign out.  This is a safety practice which should become a user habit.

The age of information technology affords all of us so many conveniences that it’s easy to let our guard down because we are dealing with thieves sight unseen. They’re not the “stick um up bandits” from the past that you visually see.  Therefore, we must remain consistent with Keeping an Eye on Safety as it relates to the ever-changing technology of our times.