Consider a security suite.
If your operating system doesn’t include security features or you want extra protection, a security software suite will include all the products required to keep your computer safe.
Run your antivirus software.
Simply having antivirus software installed will not help your computer from being attacked. Scan for viruses on a regular basis, or set the software to do automatic scans at a certain time daily.
Double your spyware protection.
Spyware can be difficult to detect, so it can be worth your while to use two different programs to search for spyware. Set the stronger program for constant monitoring, and use the second for occasional scans to verify that nothing was missed by the first program.
Try disposable e-mail addresses.
Create separate free e-mail addresses for different purposes. Use this “disposable” e-mail account to register for sites or complete surveys that may result in increased spam. If the spam becomes overwhelming, close the account and create another. This will keep the junk mail from your regular e-mail account, as you continue to use your regular e-mail address for business or personal communication.
Use credit cards.
When shopping on-line, credit cards offer higher protection than debit cards or other payment options. Credit card issuing banks offer protection against fraud that debit cards and checking accounts do not.
Devote a single credit card to online purchases.
If only one card is used for all online transactions, misuse or identity theft will be easier to detect than if multiple cards were used. Using a single card will also minimize the damage you experience if the card number is stolen.
Avoid saved passwords.
Although saved passwords and saved site default settings can be convenient, if your computer is hacked into any saved account information becomes available to the attacker. Limit the use of saved credit card numbers and addresses.
Look for evidence of secure sites.
Only enter personal information on sites that have the https:// prefix or a padlock icon in your browser window. This means that the Web site is secured and any information transmitted is encrypted and can not be read easily by humans.
Don’t assume that secure and honest are the same thing.
The https:// prefix and padlock symbol are good indicators of transmission security, but not of reputation. Ensure that you shop from or do business with reputable companies by looking for the Better Business Bureau logo or other positive affiliations. Also read reviews on-line to find out what other users have experienced with the company.
Guard your personal information.
Do not respond to emails requesting personal information, like passwords, Social Security numbers and birthdates unless you know the sender or are expecting the email. If an email requests that you contact a telephone number, verify the number first.