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Steps for Securing Your Online Privacy

Part of the Internet Privacy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Personal information is floating all over the internet. If you're concerned about your internet privacy, protect yourself by taking these common-sense security steps when working on your computer:

  • Use a password to limit access to your computer and important files.

  • And, for goodness’ sake, use hard-to-guess passwords, and change them often!

  • Keep your operating system and important software updated with current security patches.

  • Install a good antivirus program and update it regularly (once a month and whenever you hear news about a new virus).

  • Back up your data regularly, and keep the backups someplace safe.

  • E-mail never goes away because any recipient can keep copies of it, so think twice before you write. If you don’t want something you write coming back to haunt you, learn to use encryption.

  • When someone sends you files by e-mail, think twice before opening them, and always run your virus-scanning program.

  • If anybody unknown to you asks for your password or credit card number, tell that person to buzz off.

  • Before giving any personal information to a website, check the website’s privacy policy.

  • At least once a month, clear out cookies from your browser and scan for spyware with a program like Ad-Aware, from Lavasoft.

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