Last week, we talked about the importance of staying safe from cybercrime in our ever-connected world.  We provided five helpful tips for you to retain your “safety edge” (read them here).  This week, we conclude the series with five more tips and best-practices:

6. Use a firewall on your computer.  The Windows Firewall is better than nothing, so be sure it is turned ON.  If you can, get a hardware firewall and install it between your internet router and your computer.  We recommend the Sonicwall TZ-100.

7. Unless the site you are visiting requires it, install and use an alternate web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, instead of Internet Explorer.

8. Be careful with software installs and updates downloaded from the Internet.  Some include offers to install additional software, and while most are benign, some are known to be adware and spyware. Most of the time, you need to read the fine print and opt-out from the “shovelware” they are pushing.  For example, a simple Java update often tries to install the ASK browser toolbar, something most people don’t need.  And even if they are not malicious, installing unwanted software on a computer still slows it down.

9. Be extremely careful with personal information you post on social media. Remember that once posted, always posted — you can never take it back.

10. And two tips that may aid you in recovery should you find yourself a victim of an attack:
a. Be diligent with backups of your data – and that includes anything you have created, be it documents, photos, sound clips, etc.  If you would be sad or even harmed in some way if you lost it, then it’s worth the investment of time and money to have a backup strategy.  There are many ways of doing this that are probably the subject of another post, but consider a simple thumb-drive or an online backup service as starters.
b. Keep copies of all your account information — for online services, credit cards, and anything you carry in your wallet or purse in a safe, secure, offline file that you can access without your computer.  Even a paper file stored in a personal safe or safety deposit box is better than nothing.  Should you find yourself in a compromised situation and your computer is unavailable, at least you will have access to this very important information.