THE BLOG
08/30/2016 04:40 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2017

How to Protect Yourself Online From Cyber Criminals

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The internet has become a valuable resource in the lives of many Americans. We log into the internet for work, school, doctor's visits and more. With such a large web of information and also deception found online it can become relatively easy to become victimized online.

Ransomware is one of the most popular ways criminals attack your online privacy. It is a kind of malware that allows criminals to gain access to a victim's files and demand money to release them. If payment is not obtained the files can be lost forever. This can be a very scary time for individuals who are be held at ransom even if it is digital ransom.

Despite having several protective measures in place many Americans find their business and personal information under attack online leaving many to question if there really is a way to protect yourself. If you have been victimized by cyber criminals or even if you have not there are several ways to combat them:

Keep your Social Security Number Private
You have probably heard this message time and time before but your social security number is one of the greatest assets you have. Gaining access to your social security number can unlock a plethora of private information about you which means you must guard the number with your life.

Avoid Unknown Pop-ups

When you're visiting sites that you have no control over it is hard to avoid the inevitable, pop ups. While pop ups are not always a bad thing they can become destructive to your online privacy. Officials suggest that if you ever receive unknown pop ups asking for your password or user names deny the request and report it immediately or risk having your information stolen.

Keep Virus Software Up to Date

Making sure you have your antivirus software up to date is very important as it relates to protecting your computer from attacks.

Although the creators of ransomware are usually ahead of antivirus companies it is still safer to be proactive than reactive.

Be Mindful of Social Media Postings
Social Media is designed for you to be social. There is a major difference between being social and sharing all of your personal information. Online criminals pay very close attention to social media sites and your vulnerability. Never give out information on social media that could be used to access your private information.

Create Unique Passwords

Use a password that you can easily remember but will be harder for criminals to break through. It is also important that you lock all of your smart devices. According to reports 30% of users who own smart devices do not have a password or pin enabled on the device.