20 Security tips

1. Never open attachments from an email.

Email was not invented for sending files and definitely not programs or archives with programs in them. Also pictures in emails are pretty deceiving because they might mask malicious actions.


2. Don’t respond to unsolicited emails.

If you receive an automated email that you did not subscribe to, do not respond or unsubscribe. This only signals to a spammer that you received and opened that email, and you will receive even more spams.


3. Never purchase anything from a spam email.

The offers in spam emails can often seem too good to be true – and they usually are! Avoid purchasing any product or service from a questionable email or offer.


4. Don’t click on links in emails if they ask you to do something urgent.

No matter how urgent a message appears to be or how unbelievable an offer (that is about to expire) seems, don’t click on any links and don’t provide your information. Just erase the email.


5. Your bank will never request nor send personal information via email.

If you ever receive an email from your bank containing, requesting personal information or asking you to verify personal details   – do not respond. A bank will never do any of these over email.


6. Don’t respond to any email asking for confidential or personal information.

No matter what someone promises you in exchange for your personal information, do not provide it. The potential uses for that data can be quite damaging for you.


7. Use strong passwords.

Create complex passwords that cannot be easily guessed. For tips on how to create a good password, check here.


8. Use different passwords for different accounts.

The more passwords you have, the less chance a hacker or thief can access your various accounts.


9. Never save your password on a computer you don’t own.

To make it easier for you to return, many websites offer the option to remember your login information on the current computer you are using. Don’t allow this option if you are not using your own personal and secure device.


10. Don’t install every program you’re exposed to.

Many websites offer “free” programs for installation but this can have sometimes unwanted colateral consequences. To avoid such cases, make sure you know all the details of a product or company before you download.


11. Use an Antivirus.

Don’t make things easy for cybercriminals. There are both free and paid antivirus solutions available for all platforms.


12. Don’t just plug in any USB device you find.

Many USB devices (such as memory sticks, SD cards and hard drives) contain malware that can activate when a device is plugged into your computer. Always perform a scan of such devices before using them.


13. Lock your computer when you are not near it.

Never leave your desk or workspace without locking your computer first. Make sure it is password-protected to avoid the risk of someone else accessing your files.


14. Lock your smartphone and set it to autolock.

Set a password or gesture for your smartphone and make sure it autolocks after one minute. If it gets stolen it will be harder for a thief to access your data.


15. Smartphones are in fact powerful computers – use yours wisely.

Smartphones are basically smaller computers with similar powers of connectivity, memory and stored personal information. Oh, and they can also make phone calls and send text messages.


16. Nobody really “misses” you on your social networks.

Emails from either known or unknown people who claim to be “missing you” online are probably just spam. You know what to do with spam – delete it.


17. Remember that you are never the 1 millionth visitor.

If you ever see a blinking banner on a website that says you are the millionth visitor and can win an unbelievable prize…well, this banner never changes. And you will never win anything either.


18. Don’t publish  nasty photos to Facebook.

No matter how small your online circle of friends may be, inappropriate photos can eventually be shared with people who should not see them. Photos could make their way back to bosses, relatives, you name it.


19. Never take naked pictures of yourself…even if you look good.

Once these photos leave your computer or smartphone,  you can’t take them back and they can come back to haunt you in the future.


20. The Internet never forgets.

There is a lot of storage space on the Internet, and it will hold onto documents or photos and remind you of them when you least expect it. Even if you delete something at the original source, there is a very good chance it has already been saved and copied elsewhere.



This is a chapter in Improve your Security free eBook. Get it from here: http://improve-your-security.org/book/

All these and many more topics are in the free eBook "Improve your security" available here: www.improve-your-security.org.

About the Author

Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since 2000 in the IT Security industry and until 2014 for Avira as Product Manager, where he was responsible for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Serving the security needs of so many different users made him think that there are other ways of to help the users: teachning them about security.

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