Personal computer security is important whether or not you gamble online. If your computer is connected to the internet, you need to lock it down. I’d be willing to bet we all have information on our computers that we don’t want to fall into the hands of hackers. Online banking, online shopping and online gambling are all activities that require personal computer security.
Don’t worry if you’re not a big computer person. Setting up basic safety measures on your computer is easy and inexpensive. If you have an extra $30 to spare, you can secure your computer against basic hacking attempts, viruses and trojans. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How to Secure Your Computer
You can secure your computer from basic attacks by getting an anti-virus and firewall program. The most popular products on the market offer total protection packages for about $50. A couple of my favorite software programs include the following:
You can purchase either of these products online or by visiting your local computer store. Both programs are designed to be easy for normal people to get started. If you have any questions about these programs, just visit your local computer shop and ask someone for help. These programs are well known in the security industry so most computer stores are familiar with them.
The two security programs above offer a suite of tools to keep your computer safe. They automatically scan all downloads, give you warnings if you visit dodgy websites and clean viruses if any are detected. At just $30 a piece, these products offer a great value for all computer users.
Use Strong Passwords
This is one of the most basic security measures you can take when gambling online. Make up passwords that consist of random letters and numbers. The longer and more complicated your passwords are, the stronger they are. This is a great way to protect against brute force password crackers that simply go through every word in the dictionary and try to log in repeatedly.
You should also use different passwords for different logins. Use a different password for each gambling site, a different password for your e-mail address and so on. If someone guesses one of your passwords, the damage is reduced to that one login.
If you have a ton of logins, it can be difficult to remember every single password. One of the best solutions for this is a program called Roboform. Roboform is a password management tool that remembers every password on your computer and stores them in a secure location. Roboform also protects against phishing by checking the address of every website you visit.
You can learn more here: http://www.roboform.com/
Additional Security Measures
There are a couple of other things you can do to keep your computer safe and secure. First thing is to avoid all dodgy websites. Don’t download programs or movies from websites that you don’t trust. A simple tactic that people use to infect computers is to promise some kind of cool download and then inject a virus in there somewhere.
Avoid So-Called Cheating Software
You will also want to avoid websites that claim to offer online poker cheating software. There is nobody on the internet selling software that can cheat at online poker. People who offer poker cheating software for download are either scamming you for money or trying to infect your computer.
Speaking of online poker, some poker sites also offer security tokens that can be used to keep your login safe. These security tokens are little pieces of hardware that you can keep at your computer or attach to your key ring.
A random six digit number is displayed on the security token every minute. When you log on to your poker site, you are also asked to input the current number on the token. This means that even if someone guesses your password, they still won’t be able to login without having your security token.
Recognize Scam E-Mails
Do not open e-mails that have sketchy subject lines such as “account identification required” or “bank transfer notice – please confirm.” Phish e-mails are designed to trick people into giving up their personal information. Online gambling sites never ask for your password or personal information via e-mail.
If you do get an e-mail that looks legitimate, do not click on any links within that e-mail. Some e-mails are very convincing and then send you to fake websites that look like the real deal. Instead, you can open a new browser window and visit the gambling site directly by typing in its known address by hand.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public wi-fi networks like those found at Starbucks are not the safest places to use the internet. You can use public internet networks to browse the web and read the news, but don’t log in to anything important while you’re on a public network. The risk just isn’t worth it. Wait until you get home.
If you MUST log in to a gambling account while on a public network, I strongly encourage you to consider a little service called WiTopia. WiTopia is a personal “virtual private network” service. Basically, it creates a secure connection between you and every website you visit. It’s super easy to set up and is fairly cheap.
Use Common Sense
Hackers and phishers are always coming up with inventive new scams. It’s impossible to keep up to date with every new scam, but common sense will take you a long ways. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.
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