16. Using Your Computer and the Internet Safely


One of the most powerful tools developed to provide information and services during the last 20 years is the personal computer and the Internet. Just a few years ago, most of the people in the United States did not own a personal computer. Computer usage was limited mostly to the workplace and libraries. However, all that has changed. Today, nearly every household in the country has a personal computer or a portable device. Additionally, the creation of the Internet has made using your personal computer more effective in ways that were not foreseen in the recent past.

Computer technology has improved drastically since personal computers came into American homes years ago. The Internet has also improved dramatically. Along with the improved technology come new problems. Some people, who are technologically proficient, are using their talents to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. Banking, credit card, and personal information all exists in cyberspace today, and there are thieves out there who know how to access it.

In order to keep your information safe, try following basic safety practices such as installing protective software, and creating strong passwords. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to create a password that is easy for you to remember. Additionally, regular backups can protect you from the unexpected. Don't leave your computer in an unsecured area, unattended, or logged on, especially in public places. Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links, and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, and avoid untrustworthy websites. Never give your passwords to other people. If you take these common-sense protective measures, you reduce the risk of becoming a cyber victim.

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