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Is the internet any safer than it used to be?

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The short answer is no. The internet is still a bit like the Wild West and you have to be very careful. Here are three quick things you should always consider when surfing the web.

1. Keep your computer up to date with the latest patches from Microsoft or Apple. Also make sure any software applications you use are kept up to date as well. Understandably updating software and be a pain and time consuming, but it one of the best ways to you and your data safe.

2. Use a strong password. Your password is often the only thing that stands between a hacker and access to your valuable information. A security breach can take hours or even days to fix and you don’t want to squander that time. It’s better to spend just 15-20 minutes updating passwords or creating new ones. This will go a long way toward keeping hackers out of your website. A strong password should be at least 10 characters and should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. So even if hackers use advanced tools it will be more challenging to break in. Once you’ve got your new super strong passwords, be cautious with them — don’t share them, even with friends and change them about once a quarter.

3. Make sure your website is encrypted. Installing a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate will also protect your website. You may not know it, but you constantly come across SSL when browsing the web — that’s what gives the “s” in “https” and the padlock in the address bar. Having an SSL certificate is essential if you’re taking credit card payments, requesting passwords or sending data. SSL enables the safe transmission of sensitive information and helps keep hackers from gaining access to your login credentials or other sensitive information. Data that isn’t encrypted is at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals.

Meet the Expert

Chris Kays founded F1 Computing Solutions, LLC, in July 2005. Having spent many years in the IT field and knowing just how difficult and frustrating it could be to find support in a timely manner, Chris decided his IT company would focus on high-quality, timely customer service.

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