1) Use Sygate Personal firewall to monitor data if you do not have the latest Windows security updates.You are most likely to be the unwilling recipient of worms, viruses and trojans if you choose to go online on an unpatched, unlicensed copy of Windows XP.
2) If you do have a registered copy of Windows, there’s Microsoft’s free antivirus which is free to download and use. Security Essentials is both lightweight and effective.
3) Use a secure password. Good passwords are not found in the dictionary. A good password is six to eight characters in length, comprising letters and numbers.
4) You can use Winzip to password protect a folder, but for some heavy duty encryption, use the Open source TrueCrypt, available on Sourceforge.net
5) Be careful of what you download and run on your computer, especially if you use it for e-commerce and Internet banking. Spyware and trojan viruses could steal your personal data and credit card details.
6) In this age of cheap terabyte drives, you have no excuse. Back up your data. It will save you time and money should your system be attacked. There are many software tools to automate this as well.
7) Exercise common sense. It might feel fine to have your Birth Date on Facebook, but since this is usually a security question used by most banks, you might want to keep it to yourself.
8) If you do feel that your computer is behaving oddly, or compromised in any way, boot into Google’s free Chromium OS, which now fits on a 1GB pen drive.
9) Hackers call phone skills and other soft methods of hacking social engineering. Identity theft can be easily done on the phone. As a principle, never reveal your password or account details to an stranger on the phone, especially if you receive the phone call. To resolve any issues, call the bank at their listed numbers.
10) If you have the Google toolbar installed, the page rank feature is a good way of verifying the genuineness of the hyperlink.
11) As a policy, banks seldom include hyperlinks in their email communication. All netbanking URLs support SSL, as do most services where security is important. Use it by typing https:// before entering the website name.
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