PC security: Your essential software toolbox

Don't fall victim! With these tools, services and tips, you can protect yourself against malware, phishing and theft.

By , PC World |  Security

Phishing isnt a new tactic, but people still fall for it. Here are some precautions that you can take to keep phishing scams from reeling you in.

Dont click links in email: Scammers often put links to fake login pages in email messages that look very convincing in an attempt to steal your personal information. With that in mind, if an email ever asks you to click a link to log in to a site and enter your username and password, dont do it. Instead, type in the real website URL of the company directly into your browser, or search Google for the site.

Check for SSL encryption: Before entering sensitive information online, make sure that the website is using encryption to secure the information while its moving over the Internet. The site address should begin with https instead of http, and your browser should show some kind of indicator near the address bar. If a site isnt using encryption for a screen in which it asks you to enter sensitive data, its most likely a phishing site or scam site. SSL encryption isnt a guarantee of safety, but you ought to make a habit of looking for that lock icon.

Use a Web browser add-on: Many Web browser add-ons out there can help you identify phishing scams and other dangerous sites. Typically these plug-ins use badges or some other indicator to show whether a site is safe, unsafe, or questionable. Most antivirus programs offer these types of browser add-ons, but if yours doesnt or you dont like it, consider using Web of Trust, an independent site-reputation tracking service.

Social network safety

Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social networking sites have given cybercriminals additional avenues to try grabbing your personal data. For example, scammers might create a malicious Facebook app that attempts to harvest your information for their financial gain, spreads tainted links, or hijacks other peoples profiles. Below are a few measures that you can implement to protect yourself on social networks.

Tighten your security and privacy settings: Although security and privacy features vary across social networks, they can help to protect you and your account data. You must set them up, however, for them to work effectively. For instance, both Facebook and Twitter allow you to encrypt your connections so that other people cant hijack your account when youre connecting from public Wi-Fi hotspots. And Facebook offers a feature to monitor and track the computers and devices that log in to your account, to help identify unauthorized logins.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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