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21 Cyber Security Tips for the 21st Century

The most common recommendations start with changing your passwords at least semi annually but some experts suggest quarterly. If you have a lot of sensitive information for business purposes it is recommended to be done even more often. The easiest way to obtain a high level of security would be to start using a password that contains at least 6 digits or more mixed alphanumerically.

Backup data daily, losing it once will take so long to retrieve that you will never not do it again. Thumb drives and discs are easy and portable which give you no reason any longer not to do a backup. Many of the newer cloud storage systems will do this for you daily making it even easier.

Many times opening an E-mail that arrived without requesting it or knowing the sender nowadays will cause a computer to become infected. These unsolicited E-mails contain coding that will infect your computer. These are particularly dangerous if you are not running any form internet spyware or malware protection.

Information is being intercepted in a variety of ways nowadays, many times it is being sent in a method that will not protect it. If you are being asked by your computer in a public place before logging in, think twice before sending personal information without running any form internet spyware or malware protection.

Automated teller machines and credit card readers where you cards information is read are increasingly under attack from criminals with card readers and scanners that have the ability to steal your financial and personal information without you or the store knowing it. Many times it goes unnoticed until it is used in a much larger criminal operation and your bank account is depleted. Identity theft protection and certain steps are essential to deter this type of fraud nowadays.

Technological age security is in its complete infancy after 500 years of printed and text style information prevalent in society, we have been thrust into the “Digital Age” where everything is converted to ones and zeroes and stored in bits and bytes to be easily transferred everywhere. Which also allows it to be easily obtained by the wrong element. It is important to consider new ways of protecting your personal information.

Checking your credit file is more important than ever nowadays, many companies are offering services to do this but are they worth it? Yes and no, keep your eyes peeled for we are going to do comparisons and tell you a big secret in the next issue.

Is your backup information available? Extremely important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies and stock certificates should really have a backup disc easily available after you have placed those documents in a safe deposit box.
Many of us click on the download button and use it without knowing that the checkbox that you agree to may track your usage and other personal information. The end user license agreement can sometimes allow installing pop ups and spyware without you knowing it by not reading the fine print. If you do not know the company or source it is very likely it will track or read your visits to websites and things you do because you have agreed to let them.

Windows based personal computers can easily be infected with a virus, Trojan horse, worm, spyware, root kit, blended threat or pop-ups. It is important to keep these types of malicious infections from your Windows-based PC.  All of these can seriously damage your computers. The most common way to address these concerns is to install and use antivirus and antispyware software. Check your antivirus manufacturers website weekly to be sure you update the program as much as possible with a patch to ensure you are up to date since viruses appear daily.

Disconnect and power off is for two important reasons, Disconnecting from the internet will make sure that someone else will not enter your computer and cause harm. Computers and ancillary devices also use a considerable amount of electricity over time when idle and not in use. So protect them from surges with a surge protector and save yourself some money by using power strips to easily shut off if possible.

A firewall can help prevent unauthorized access to your computer from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. These are needed along with virus protection. On a Windows PC a firewall will prevent malicious programs that get onto your computer from transferring personal data over the Internet.

Your computers operating system may allow file sharing if there are other computers on a network, including the internet, to access the hard drive of your computer to share files. This ability to share files can be used to infect your computer with a virus or look at the files on your computer if you do not pay close attention. Disable file sharing and learn about it to further protect yourself.

When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.

McAfee Security reported in a summary of 2011 that 72% of people polled do not have security on mobile devices other than manufacturer installed. These mobile platforms are being targeted the most by hackers and breaches have doubled in the past year. If you download apps remember to make sure they are from a reliable source.
If you have been notified of winning, chances are you are being solicited for personal information anytime they request account information consider it to be a threat. All legitimate winnings will have an alternate method of some sort to verify without giving up personal information. Downloadable apps for gaming are the most current problem for security breaches of information.

Depending on your age Pueblo Colorado may ring a bell, as it afforded all Americans a free repository of useful government publications and information in the past. Nowadays all of it and more appear online we have included the current government link to cyber security This is part of The Department of Homeland Security and has a large amount of easy to digest information which is very useful and easy for those whom are not so cyber savvy.

Do you occasionally receive those texts from somewhere, you kind of want to look but don't remember asking for information? The Single Message System also known as texting has seen a large numbers of viruses from unsolicited message attacks. Don’t open it , delete it, if you don't know the source it could download code to hijack your phone through the sender.

Bluetooth capabilities can be used by everyone around you in a public network area. Newer models can be encrypted so look to privatize your data before everyone sees it and worse yet hears it.

Wi-Fi Man-in-the-Middle Attacks – This means of attack is popular and effective today in coffee shops, bars, restaurants and airports that offer wireless Internet access without a password. In this environment, anyone else on the same network can hack your device in less than five minutes, downloading all your data, email, contacts, and files. Unless the data is encrypted you can be hacked right where you are at, this also applies to Bluetooth.

Advanced and persistent hackers use social sites to collect data about you, your network of colleagues, and friends to create targeted and malicious emails. The personal info posted on these sites is used to help create a relationship of trust, in hopes that you’ll open an email link connected to an infected web site. Limit your exposure on social sites by not sharing personal data and closely reviewing “friend” requests and emails. even then, be wary.

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About the Author

John Nicholson, Driving Force Financial Network
!07 W Van Buren
Chicago, IL 60625

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