In my previous two posts, I have discussed many of the dangers associated with losing control of your information. Not only are you setting yourself up for robbery, but many other types of crimes can be committed using your information, and most of them will hurt you. So by now you are probably wondering what you can do to help safeguard your information. There are three main ways that cyber criminals can take your digital information without you knowing.

The first way that cyber criminals look to steal your information is by phishing. Phishing attacks are attacks that attempt to emulate a trusted figure. For example, it might mimic the web page from your bank, an email from your lawyer, or other trusted entity. Then, they will ask you for your information. However, if you enter your password or give them your information, they will use this to compromise your system. Once they have access to your accounts, they can do as they wish with your personal information. Avoiding phishing scams is best done by always thinking twice before entering any personal information. Make sure that you typed in the address of the website that you were visiting correctly. If you are every wondering if you are giving information to an actual representation of an organization, give them a phone call. Look up their telephone number elsewhere, do NOT trust any numbers which are on suspicious pages.

The second way that your information is vulnerable is through unsafe connections. Wifi spoofers and other devices can intercept your information while it is traveling onto the internet. In this case, any information that you send can be intercepted, and sometimes they can also influence the data being sent to your computer. This is particularly terrifying because they can change what you see if, for example, you searched the web for a public website. The best way to avoid this is to set your computers wifi settings to secure, and have it only connect to a specific router.

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Finally, information can be stolen via malware. There are countless vectors for malware infection, but you don’t want any of it. If spyware or keyloggers are on your computer, anything you do will be recorded, and any information you input can be extracted. Exercising proper web safety can help you avoid malware, and if you suspect a computer is infected, take the steps necessary to ensure that it has been completely cleaned.