10 ways to keep your Online Data Safe

In today’s digital world, banking, money transfers, and payments—as well as medical, corporate, and government records—are secured by means of complex encryptions. The ciphertext, in turn, is read by those who have the necessary decryption key to restore the data to its original form.

Whereas a metal key usually has a set of grooves, a digital key is a string of zeros and ones in various combinations. Longer keys have more combinations and are thus harder to crack. An eight-bit key, for example, has 256 possible combinations, or permutations, whereas a 56-bit key has more than 72 quadrillion permutations. The present standard for encrypted Web browsing is 128-bit keys, which have 4.7 sextillion times more permutations than 56-bit keys.

To be sure, the encryptions protecting your bank accounts and online transactions are extremely hard to crack. Yet, much also depends on you. So be shrewd and “conceal” yourself, as it were, from fraud and theft by doing at least this 10 following things:

1) Use antivirus software on your computer.

2) Employ a spyware-detection program.

3) Install a firewall.

4) Keep all of the above continually updated, and install security updates for your applications and operating system.

5) Beware of links or attachments in e-mail or instant messages, especially if the mail is unsolicited and asks for    personal information or for verification of a password.

6) When transmitting sensitive data, such as credit card details, use encrypted connections, and log off the Web site when you have finished.

7) Choose passwords that are hard to guess, and protect them.

8) Do not copy or run software from unknown sources.

9) Regularly back up your files, and safely store the copies.

10) Be smart.

If you follow these basic precautions and apply any others that may be advisable now and in the future, you at least improve your chances of winning your own battle for confidentiality and security.

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