Private eyes: Common computer mistakes plague privacy

Now more than ever, being smart about what you’re doing on your computer is paramount.

The same couldn’t be said during the infancy stages of the world wide web, mostly because it wasn’t so worldly or wide, but today’s version of the internet, along with emails, social networking and anything else you freely do online, needs to be policed, parented and paid close attention to constantly.

As an individual, you have the responsibility to use the internet wisely and to make good decisions as it relates to anything and everything you do daily online.

The world wide web is all about communication, and nothing is more convenient and preferred than email, which allows you to be a little more sincere with your comments aside from texting and is also rooted in not only personal emails but also work related items.

But what tends to put us at risk for online privacy issues is being haphazard with our emails, namely the ones we open that clearly look as though they were concocted with nothing but bad intentions in mind.

What makes that revelation even more ridiculous is when you can clearly see this looks and sounds phony, but yet you still open it up because curiosity didn’t just kill the cat, but also any chance you have of protecting yourself from an online hacker.

Scam and spam is easy to spot with two easy mentions: bad spelling and the “too good to be true” mantra that lures you into an unenviable situation. Simply put, if they can’t spell (think of a prize that you “one”) or you just won $10,000 and all you need to do is “click here” to claim it, then you’re on the cusp of having someone tap into your personal information and your PC in general.

Another easy way to avoid privacy being compromised is to not ignore how you handle and choose your passwords. You should shy away from having your PC or Mac remember your password, and also never forget to log out of an account, particularly your banking information and email. Furthermore, make sure your password that you choose has some complexity to it, and don’t ignore numbers or special characters as a means to differentiate from others that are common.

And as long as you stay away from WiFi connections that aren’t password protected (you might want to think about using your banking info or other important info on your home router), you should be well on your way to keeping your personal security just that: personal.

Private in Parts: The sum of all you do daily protects your PC

Your privacy is your privacy, no matter whether you’re talking about anything from your social security number to your bank pin code or anything else that can swept out from underneath you and used again you as far as your identity is concerned.

Computer privacy, when this discussion rises to the forefront, is almost always the center of attention and trying to mitigate exactly how safe (or unsafe) you are is pertains to keeping everything on your PC and what you use it for totally untouchable by the average hacker or someone that is a little more adept at stealing your identity.

One overlooked tip is to keep you email address away from anything that would be considered more of a sales ploy (such as mass emails or marketing lists) or anything else that you might want to do that is more flippant than your average, work related or banking related email for instance.

The better option is to pick an email address that is a throwaway account of sorts, one you use for things such as the aforementioned items and isn’t one you have connected to any sort of personal information that you might be entering into your PC.

As far as personal emails or information of that ilk, you might want to consider using your home computer more so than a work one. The work one is fine, but not if you aren’t aware of the kind of protection the server has and just how easily it can be compromised. My work, for instance, is secured through a VPN sign in that has to be done by a company employee and the WiFi is always password protected (another aspect you can’t overlook for computer privacy).

That VPN allows me to feel more comfortable using a work computer for personal information; some companies aren’t quite as secure, although the resident IT person might say otherwise. The fact remains is that if you’re not sure, then you shouldn’t be checking your bank statement or account balances online, among other things.

Finally, and the most obvious, is stop giving out your email or opening up and relying to spam accounts and emails. And you might be thinking, who in the world still pays attention to spam or even remotely entertains the idea of reading it, but you’d be surprised to find that the average person still dabbles in the decadence that is spam emails.

Your privacy is paramount, and you don’t want anything related to it compromised, but you have to look at fixing the little things, the small parts, to make an overall, large scale change to just how wide open your identity truly is.