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Learn How To Remain Secure On-Line

By on June 3rd, 2011 
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Security has always been a persistent issue on internet. We are never sure about safety of our personal information. The security issue has advanced to a new level recently with lot of identity theft, fraud, hijacking and hacking activities being carried out frequently. One of the main reason for these activities are carelessness or ignorance of users. The bad guys out there want users to make some mistakes so that they get a chance to steal information and cause damages. In this article, we will cover such  security issues, what actually may cause them and suggest ways around such issues.

Unprotected networks

Unprotected networks are too prone to hijacking and information theft. Since the network does not work on encrypted  protocols, the hackers can easily invade your privacy and get into the system to read your incoming and outgoing data and your passwords. They can take a look at the devices and folders on the network if users do not configure their systems properly. Wireless networks mostly suffer from this problem of secured sessions.

There are many programs and applications for hijacking of unencrypted Facebook, Twitter, and even Amazon credentials from other users on the same Wi-Fi network. You might have heard of Firesheep, a Firefox add-on which can do that. More recently, there is FaceNiff - an Android application which can hijack of Facebook, Twitter or Amazon sessions very easy. It lets the hackers sniff from your computer and intercept credentials if you are on any unprotected network.

So, we should be concerned about the networks on which we work. We should always use the protected networks working on HTTPS Protocol. Next time you log on to a public Wi-Fi take care of security thing.

Suspicious Links

There are links all around - in emails, on websites that you use visit. All these links are not meant to be visited. Many  links make you do things that you would not even suspect about, such as - download malicious softwares, enter your credentials etc. Such softwares can attack your system. Entering your credentials at such places can get your accounts hacked.

A major problem with this is arises because of URL shortners. Many URL shortning services have come up because of services like Twitter and Facebook.

There are many ways to detect such links. For example -

  • Use Google Safe Browsing to scan any website for suspicious/malacious link. Use the link "http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=XYZ.com" to scan any link.
  • Use online link scanners -they list the scan report generated by AVG, PhisTank, Site Truth and Google Safe Browsing and other reliable sources to help us decide the overall report of the URL in question. For example - Online Link Scan.
  • Use any antivirus in your system which use antispam filter, scan web traffic etc. to protect you when you are working online.
  • Be careful of links on Facebook and Twitter which seems spammy. If you are suspicious of the link, do not click on them.

If you are in habit of clicking any links you see, take into account that you can land up in disturbing situation. Better think before you click.

Password Vulnerability

Quite often we are not careful about the passwords that we choose. Passwords must be created strong. The more obscure we choose a password, the tougher it will be to crack.

Here are some tips for creating safe passwords -

  • Do not use easy to guess and general terms for passwords (like your phone number, street name, pet's name etc.)
  • Pseudo-random alpha-numeric combination- Mix letters, numbers and symbols, and use alphabets with different cases.
  • Try not to use the same password for every site for which you create an account.
  • Do not hesitate to create a long password, but at the same time memorize it.
  • Try to change your password at regular intervals - say 90-100 days.

Role of Web Browser

Web browsers that you choose can help you shield your information from getting breached. Secure browsers lead you to have secured sessions. Certain tweaks in your browser can help you remain safe.

Browsers as Firefox and Google Chrome can be considered reliable as they provide many security features. They will warn you of possible threats. With Safe Browsing technology enabled in Chrome, it will show you a warning message before you visit a site that is suspected of containing malware or phishing. Firefox also shows such warning messages.

  • If you are suspicious of any information being used later then you can simply clear the browsing history.
  • Use antivirus which integrates with your browser to detect the threats on line (like- when you download any software).
  • Private Browsing in Firefox and Incognito mode in Chrome allow you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited.
  • “Keep My Opt-Outs” Chrome extension and Do-not-track feature in Firefox help your browsing behavior not getting tracked by third party so it adds to your safety and privacy.

You can choose browser of your own choice. But be sure you get enough security feature (like the above discussed) from your browser.

The ways discuss here will surely help you to remain safe when you are online. It's you to make sure you take wise steps for your safety. After all safety is one's basic concern.

Do you use any other security measures? Do share them.

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Learn How To Remain Secure On-Line was originally published on Digitizor.com on June 3, 2011 - 8:47 pm (Indian Standard Time)