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The Truth About Online Security

Oct 11, 2007
Considering all the criminal behavior going on in 2007, it's only natural to be concerned with online security. We really do invest a great deal in how secure web transactions and websites are. When was the last time you slapped your credit card number on a web page to place an order? Or even worse, your debit card number, expiration date and three-digit code on the back.

If someone were to get their hands on this information, you could really end up broke and hurting financially. Not to mention that your full name and address is typically present as well. Yikes, they would basically have everything except your SSN. Fortunately most websites invest in superior firewalls and security measures to ensure this doesn't happen. But, that doesn't mean you're completely safe while surfing net-land.

I have my doubts when punching in my debit card number on a "secure website." How do I really know that the site is secure? They pretty much all say the same thing. Then again, we have to keep in mind that web-based businesses do not want your information getting out or stolen. They want to keep your business, and therefore work hard to maintain the best online security. If they were really out to wrong you, they'd simply take your information and use it to their advantage. Well, if you want to get technical anyway.

There are a few measures you can take in order to ensure your online security. First of all, you want to refrain from back-tracking. Once you've completed a transaction, go ahead and exit the browser. Open a fresh window to start a new search. This way the previous transaction is closed off.

Secondly, only purchase on websites that announce their security measures. If they have them, they are advertising them somewhere on the home page. And finally, keep your computer's security updated regularly.

This goes double for those who use PCs. I find that I have to stay on top of my PCs security more than I do my Mac. If I don't, things will slip in. Therefore the best way to address online security is simply by playing it smart and taking the necessary precautions.

In fact, by default, many PCs are set up with truly awful online security settings that can leave the door to your system and your hard drive unlocked and wide open. Anti-virus tools are just one small (but important) part of online security. Using tools you already have, and for free, you can vastly improve your online security -- and that's what this week's Explorer column is about: I'll cover the essentials of how to set up your Internet connections so as not to needlessly create security holes.


Online Security If you suspect a Web site is not what it claims to be, leave it immediately. Online security risks will continue to grow.
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