Log on to your computer and you've got the world at your fingertips; but as you know, the world is full of both good and bad things. If you don’t use the internet wisely, it could come back to haunt you. Here are three important lessons on the rule of responsible computer use.
1.) Don’t Take Your Passwords Lightly
To say that your password needs to be unique is an understatement. Use a variety of characters—letters, numbers, and even symbols, if it’s allowed. Make it something specific to YOU and nobody else! Stay away from words or numbers that you know people would probably guess first, like your birthday or your middle name.
Just as important as the good passwords are the bad ones. In fact, if you do a simple web search, you will see compiled lists of the most common (and easy to guess) password names—in other words, ones that you should never, ever use. Some of the most popular ones include:
- (a) “password”
- (b) your username for that account
- (c) any consecutive numbers or letters (12345, abc, etc.)
Here’s another great pointer: Change your passwords every so often. By doing this, you’re more efficiently protecting yourself from hackers. Maybe you update it once a month or once every other month.
2.) A Truth about Virus Protection Scanning
Regularly running a virus scan on your computer can be a huge help; but know the limitations. First of all, running two scans simultaneously actually works counter productively so don’t do it! Secondly, always remember that these scans don’t pick up everything, so it’s vital to practice safe internet use in order to avoid bugs.
There are some downsides to using virus scanners, like the costs of renewal and scam programs masquerading as protection programs. Also, scanners can sometimes recognize programs as viruses when they really aren't. You go and remove them, and your computer can’t function anymore.
When in doubt, choose judiciously. Don’t assume that just any old program is safe to use. Read online reviews, ask your friends, and contact the computer experts. Some are better than others.
3.) The Footprints You Leave Behind…
A lot of people don’t like to believe this, but it’s true: Once you put something on the internet, it will always be there. It doesn't matter if you delete it. Somewhere out there in the World Wide Web, it still exists. Plus, with the diffusion of information down to less than a second, you won’t be able to see it before potentially millions of people can access it.
Long story short, if you’re not positive you want the world to see it, don’t post it!
The dangers lurking behind your computer screen can be intimidating, but if you click and type with caution, you’ll stand a better chance of staying out of harm’s way!
George Travis writes for several tech blogs and recommends finding out how to transfer files here on the internet.