Internet Access: Is Your Data Secure? (Part 3 of 3)

John Merchant, CPA, CFE

We have previously discussed wireless internet connections from hotels and stores and some of the things that you can do to protect your data.  But, what other steps can you take, even when accessing the Internet from your own home or business?

One of the greatest dangers you face when browsing the Internet and accessing sites that are unknown to you is from viruses and other malicious infections of your computer that are spread from malware sites.  Consequently, you must obtain anti-virus software and keep it updated.  This software will alert you when you attempt to access a site that is known to be dangerous or give you some assurance that the site has been tested and found to be safe.

We have earlier discussed the need to keep your data secure and out of the reach of others.  At the same time, you need to take precautions to be sure that such data remains available to you.  A virus that infects your computer can shut it down, restrict access to your data or even corrupt your files so that the data is no longer of use to you.  Anti-virus software can also block malware when someone attempts to introduce it to your computer.

If you operate a business or other organization that maintains a computer network for your employees, it is often of value to obtain the Cloud security service.   This security service will block access to certain sites and becomes invaluable when you have employees that will attempt to access a site despite all of the warning signs that they receive.

Finally, be cautious when opening e-mail.  E-mails become a threat to your computer when they carry viruses.  Often e-mails contain a link for you to click with the expectation that you can win a prize or obtain some useful information.   Sometimes the real purpose of the link is to open the door to a virus.  Be cautious.  If you receive an e-mail from an unknown sender or one that looks strange in any way, the best bet is to delete it without delay.   Sometimes just opening an e-mail will start the spread of a virus.

This concludes our series on the basics of protecting your data and lowering the chance of you becoming the victim of fraud when accessing the Internet, and we hope this information will be of use to you.  If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

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