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Stay Safe Online: Prevent Heartaches This Valentine’s Day

Norton by Symantec
Stop. Think. Connect. Three Simple Steps to Valentine’s Day Online Safety from Norton by Symantec

As Valentine’s Day draws near, online activities and interactions surge during this season too – whether purchasing gifts or flowers online or connecting with loved ones via social media network or email. In the midst of this season, beware of cyber criminals lurking to steal your personal information or identity. Take precaution to stay safe online and prevent heartaches this Valentine’s Day.

Beware that you do not fall into the trap of cyber criminals this Valentine’s Day. The following are three simple steps to help keep yourself safe online - whether you’re on a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone:


Even before going online, stop to consider the security risks. Everything is not as it seems on the Internet. Be street smart. Just as you would stop to look both ways before crossing a street, you should stop before clicking on unknown links. A link with a shortened (and thus hidden) URL that’s posted on a social networking site, for example, may take you to a malware-infested site.

Stop before proceeding, and think safety first. Always be cautious of any links or emails you receive from unknown recipients, or ones that just seem suspicious.

Think before you click. Someone you just met online wants to know everything about you: your full name, your home address. Hmm ... sounds fishy, doesn’t it?

Requests from strangers should always send up a red flag, but what if you receive an email from a trusted friend? Sometimes the risk isn’t always obvious, but it may be if you stop to think.

Picture this scenario: You just received an email from a friend you’ve known for years. He didn’t say much, or maybe the message didn’t sound like him. Ignoring your suspicions, you click on the link in the email - and now your PC is being pumped full of dangerous malware, including botnets. Botnets can turn your PC into a “zombie” - meaning your computer starts issuing commands under the instructions of the malware. Prevent a botnet takeover with these easy steps:

  • Ask questions. Getting back to our first point, stop. Ask if this message makes sense. You’ve known your friend for years. Why did he suddenly send you a nonsensical message asking you to check out some product?
  • Contact the sender directly. Do not hit reply! Replying could let the group who wrote the malware know they have a live address. Your email account may have been compromised, so call your friend and ask: “Did you send this? It seems suspicious.”
  • Use a comprehensive online security suite. You wear safety glasses when using power tools, so employ the same school of thought here. Be prepared. Make sure your browser and security software are up to date.

Having the confidence to connect will be natural after you learn to take the time to stop and think about your online actions. Still, it doesn’t hurt to take some extra precautions.

Before you connect to public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport, be aware that shared, unsecure connections can make it easier for unscrupulous types to eavesdrop on your Internet session ¬ without you being aware it’s happening.

Play it safe before connecting. Wait until you’re on a private, secure connection to check accounts that require a login. This includes your social networking sites, email and banking account.

Source: Norton by Symantec

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