Tips for staying safe online

Below are online protection tips from CyberDefender.

If you download movies or videos clips, make sure they’re from well-known and trusted sources.

Unreleased movies are not available for legitimate download for months after their release. In addition to being illegal, these pre-release downloads often carry viruses or spyware. Be especially cautious when asked for your credit card information.

Don’t click on search results for images of celebrities unless you can verify where the image is coming from.

More and more rogue spyware directs consumers from image search results to links that take the unsuspecting user to web pages that offer free anti-virus or anti-spyware, but actually download malware – viruses, anti-spyware and other malicious software.

When searching for popular movies or celebrities, know how to spell names correctly.

Slightly mistyped names can present search results with bad Web sites. Typo “squatters,” as they’re called, will often buy URL’s with slightly different spelling to capture unsuspecting visitors. They might drop malware on your computer just from visiting the site (drive-by download), or request personal information for financial gain.

Purchase your gear from well-respected online retailers.

Reputable online retailers such as eBay and will monitor phishing and impersonations of their Web sites. They will look for typo squatters and other cybercriminals that are responsible for fraud and take them down.

Be wary of clicking on links in Twitter—shortened links make it difficult to confirm legitimate and recognized Web sites.

Twitter allows users to post shortened URLs, making it easier for users to keep the messages within the prescribed character limit. URL shortening is similar to URL re-direction and can be abused by malware authors.

Entering a contest online? Here’s what to look for to make sure it’s legit:

Make sure that the Web site for the contest specifies that it encrypts your data when sending it over the Internet. In this case the URL starts with “https” instead of “http.” Always check the URL to verify that you are on the Web site you think you are visiting.

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