How to Avoid Cyber-squatters and Stay Safe Online

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  • Type the URL – and make sure it’s totally accurate
    When you wish to visit a specific website, it’s safer to type the URL into the address bar on your web browser – instead of clicking on a link. Having typed the URL, you should carefully check that it is correct – before you click the enter key on your keyboard. Any spelling errors could result in you being directed to a cybersquatter’s website – and that site may contain malicious software.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails – or click links within them
    If you receive any suspicious looking emails – especially emails that claim to be from or associated with social media sites – it might be wise to avoid opening them and resist the temptation to click on any links within them. Instead, you should visit the site that the message claims to be from – so you can directly access any notifications or messages contained on the site.
  • Add recovery contact info to your accountsIf your account is compromised, companies will probably try to let you know. But that’s only possible if they have some means of getting in touch with you on file.

    “Add a phone number or an alternate email address, so that in the event you can’t log in, your account can still be verified and granted access to change password.

  • Don’t use the same password for multiple sitesIf there’s one cardinal sin when it comes to online security, it’s using the same password over and over again across different services.

    “It’s much more important that you have unique passwords across all of the different sites that matter,” he says. There’s a reason many people are guilty of this: Passwords are difficult to remember. Using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password, which generate new unique passwords on your behalf each time you log in to a website, could fix this problem.

  • Eliminate vulnerabilities in your OS and applications
    Ensure that your operating system (OS) and all applications running on your computer – including browsers and plugins – are regularly updated. This will help to eliminate vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware if you visit a cybersquatter’s website.
  • Keep your software updatedUpdating software, whether it be on your phone, laptop, or television, is extremely important. When hackers discover new ways to steal your data, gadget and software companies usually work quickly to release fixes for those vulnerabilities. But it’s up to us to actually install those updates — or set it so that updates occur automatically.
  • Install Internet security software – and keep it updated
    An effective antivirus solution – that includes a firewall – can help to protect your computer, by blocking malicious subdomains. Some security software will also warn you about risks if it believes that you are about to enter a potentially malicious domain. To help maximize your protection, make sure your security software is regularly updated.
  • Enable two-factor authentication

    Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring another code in addition to your memorized password. That code can be sent to your smartphone via a text or generated by an app.

    With two-factor authentication, even if a hacker has your username and password, he or she won’t be able to access your account unless they also have your smartphone — not a likely scenario.

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