- Avoid using public wireless hotspots when making transactions. Only use your own computer for this purpose.
- Choose passwords that no one will guess easily, that are at least eight characters long and which include at least one number and one upper case letter. Also, never share or reuse your passwords. One way to help you remember your passwords is to use similar but distinct password for each account.
- If your computer or mobile device prompts you to update your operating system or a particular piece of software, avoid the temptation to continually postpone the update. Older versions of software are often less secure, leaving you vulnerable to malware, so take the time to update your software.
- Use a separate credit card with limited funds on it for online shopping.
- Enable SMS notifications for all card transactions.
- Check your bank statements regularly, for instance, on a weekly basis.
- Identify your most sensitive data and back it up.
- Never download attachments or click on links in emails from unknown senders.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions are a worthwhile investment because they conceal your online activity from criminals.
- Use a reliable Internet security suite that will block malware and raise red flags on online frauds and phishing attempts. Be sure to install a mobile antivirus too.
Don't let yourself become a victim this Chinese New Year. Familiarise yourself with the list of recommendations above, share them with your friends and family and most importantly, act on them. Gong Xi Fa Cai.
David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the Privacy-PC.com project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking.
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