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Security stories

5 Tricks to Help You Protect the Treats on Your Computer

With threats lurking around every URL, the Internet can be a scary place. Sometimes one click can turn your PC into a house of horrors. Protect all the precious content on your hard drive and avoid the digital ghouls this holiday season by learning these five tricks.

1. Practice smart passwording

You need complex, unique passwords for every account you have. But how are you supposed keep track of them all? Write them down! Yep, write down your passwords down and keep them in your wallet. Use a code to identify the site each password is for and DON’T write down your login name. Then change your passwords at least once every six months.

2. Trust your gut
If any website you visit feels shady, don’t click on any links. Before you decide to install any program, double-check the site. Is it reputable? Still not sure? Google the URL. If you’re being asked for any banking information, check the url to make sure you’re on the site you mean to be. If you have any doubt at all, contact the company directly to make sure they are who they say they are. An updated security suite will protect you from most phishing scams. If you to know for sure if a particular site is compromised, check the site with F-Secure’s Browsing Protection.

3. Patch and protect
The best way to keep from getting tricked is to make sure your computer is healthy. Is your operating system updated? How about your applications—iTunes, Flash, Reader? Security holes in your software make you vulnerable. Our Health Check makes it easy to patch and protect your system. Practice preventative internet security. Check your computer once a month, and save yourself from having to nurse a sick computer back to health.

Don’t trust security programs you didn't install
Unless they've been installed by the you or your PC's manufacturer, legitimate security programs will never just appear on your computer. Spyware and rogue antivirus AKA scareware do. If any pop-up or web page tells you that you have a virus or malware, ask yourself, “Who installed that program?” If it wasn't installed by your or the PC's maker, it may be malware itself. We’ll help you find it and get it off your system with our Online Scanner. Do not attempt to pay off these pesky programs so they will leave you alone. If you do get tricked into paying for fake security software, contact your credit card company immediately.

5. Maintain some mystery

Sharing our lives online can be addictive. But you’ll get tricked if you share too much. Be careful where you post any sensitive data. Sensitive data can include anything from travel plans to telephone numbers to corporate secrets. Don’t make life any easier for the bad guys. Assume that whatever you share online will be there forever, and post accordingly.