A good way to stay safe online is to simply try to give out as little information about yourself when interacting with the general public. This sounds simple enough, but there are a fair few people who are more than willing to go to great lengths to get your information or virtual items. Depending on the real-world value of the virtual information in question you may or may not actually be seriously affected by a scam even if you fall for it, but no computer system is perfect; if you want to avoid having your information stolen, here is some info to consider.
Stay Aware of Social Media Scams
Social media is a unique environment in that it allows you to interact both with your friends and with the broader public audience in an unprecedented manner. While this may allow you to share interesting information that you otherwise wouldn’t have learned with people you get along with, it also opens the door for scammers to try to sneakily engineer a social media environment that will reveal information that otherwise wouldn’t be public.
Many minor Facebook games like quizzes or the more public images that tell you something funny based on your first name and last name may actually be gathering information about you. Even if this information isn’t ever directly used against you maliciously, it can still make you vulnerable to scrutiny later on. These social media traps can be avoided by simply not interacting with them; no matter how interesting it might be to learn what Hogwarts House you might belong to, you are probably better off deciding for yourself.
Don’t Download Questionable Programs
If you take the proper precautions you shouldn’t have too many problems with things that you download, but there are still a few ways seemingly innocent programs can cause issues. While modern Windows operating systems often come with built-in virus scanners that you can direct toward specific programs, you may find that once a virus has installed itself you will have considerably more trouble removing it than simply running a program.
The Chromium virus, for example, is a virus that masquerades itself as the legitimate Google Chromium browser and it deliberately takes measures to prevent you from uninstalling it. This particular virus is relatively well-known so you will likely be able to find Chromium virus removal advice online, but if you are unable to get rid of it or a more nefarious virus than getting professional help may be worth getting in some cases. The best way to deal with viruses, however, is prevention; if you aren’t sure that a program is safe, just stay away from it.
Make Sure You Trust the Server Provider
It is possible to fall victim to some form of information theft without making any obvious mistakes. Many large and trusted companies can be compromised by malicious hackers, and even seemingly legitimate internet service providers are capable of selling your information without your consent. With all of these threats, many of which were inconceivable before the modern age of the internet, many are looking for ways to mitigate the risks associated with using online browsing and web hosting services and finding affordable dedicated servers that stand up to scrutiny is difficult. Using VPNs and secure servers can be one way of reducing the likelihood of becoming compromised, so long as you take as many precautions as you can while doing so.
While online gaming can be an addicting pastime, it will pay to take a few precautions. Making sure websites save as little of your information as possible and keeping a physical record of your passwords instead is a good start, but if you are trusting large companies with information that is vital to your wellbeing you need to be careful about what you give them.