Internet Security – 8 proven tactics to eliminate spam, virus and hacker threats

As an online business owner, you are exposed to insidious internet security risks every time you are online. Viruses, hackers and spam await you on every corner. The reality is that these threats will always be a component of being online and doing business online. Unfortunately, they seem to be here to stay.

With that in mind, there are a number of precautions you can take to keep yourself, your business, and your website visitors as safe as possible. Here are 8 proven tactics to improve your internet security:

1.Virus protection. Make sure you have the latest virus updates installed on your computer and have the software perform a thorough daily scan of your entire computer to ensure no viruses have successfully wormed their way onto your hard drive. Set your virus checker to also scan your e-mails when you download them.

I use AVG Free to scan both my computer and my email. They also have a paid version that offers full internet protection. McAfee and Norton also offer similar products.

I use CounterSpy to protect against spyware and malware. The company that makes this software also has a new virus and spyware protection product called VIPRE.

2. Spam Blockers. I have a spam blocker I use with Outlook called Cloudmark Desktop that helps me train my email program to recognize spam. What I like about this program is that the program users tell Cloudmark what spam emails are arriving in their inboxes and the programmers update Cloudmark accordingly to detect that type of emails. Other spam blocking programs are IHateSpam and MailWasher.

3. Web Hosting Spam Blocker. To block spam before it even reaches my Outlook inbox, one of my hosting accounts offers Postini spam blocking on my server. I pay a few bucks more each month to add this service, but it’s worth it as it routinely blocks at least 100 spam emails a day. I always have the option to log into this account if I miss an email that may have accidentally ended up there, and I can “whitelist” the sender so it works fine next time. Every night this service sends me a list of questionable emails (i.e. the service isn’t sure if it’s spam) and I quickly scan them to approve misidentified emails.

4. Email address spam. One of the easiest ways to get your email address added to huge lists of spam email addresses is to add a unique link to your email address on your website. Spambots routinely patrol the web looking for readily available email addresses to collect online. Even if you’ve “cloaked” the link by saying “Click here to send an email,” which makes your email address appear in the visitor’s email program, the spambot can still parse the HTML -Read source code and collect email address.

Instead, remove your email address from all your websites. Use a contact form for people emailing you that contains CAPTCHA technology (which requires the form filler to read a graphical representation of a word or quantity or number to prove they are not a spambot). I’m using the free version of Freeback for this task.

5. Discussion List Spam. If your email address needs to appear on discussion lists, blog posts, or forum posts, use a free email address such as those available from Gmail or Yahoo. In this way you protect your “real” email address from being intercepted by spambots.

6. Catch-All Email Address. If your web host allows it, create a bulk email address that will receive all email that isn’t specifically tagged for a fixed POP email address or email forwarding that you may set up have. For example, if you sign up for a free giveaway from someone who adds you to their marketing list, you can then enter an email address that will remind you of the website or giveaway you used it on.

For example, if I sign up for Jane Smith’s free report on dog training tips, I could use, which then end up in my catch-all domain email address. This way you don’t have to reveal your “real” email address and you can determine if the list owner is selling or renting your email address to someone else. So if you suddenly start receiving emails address from a dog food company you’ve never heard of, you know Jane sold or rented your email address to them.

7. Firewalls and Hackers. Make sure you at least use Windows Firewall protection to protect your computer from hackers while online. Or use a free firewall like ZoneAlarm. You can also upgrade for a fee to get more protection.

If you’re using a wireless router, make sure you set a password to secure it so no one passing by your home or office can hijack your signal and possibly hack your computer. I just reset the wireless on my laptop last week and found that there are 3 unsecured wireless connections in my neighborhood. I live in a residential area with no shops, so I know these were insecure WiFi routers in my neighbors’ homes.

8. Secure Server. When you sell anything online, either your website hosting account or your shopping cart provider must have a security certificate so that all monetary transactions can go through a secure server. You can verify that your ordering process is secure by looking for https:// in your browser’s address window when you are on the payment page of your website/basket. Some browsers also show a gold padlock icon if you are on a secure server.

I had to purchase a security certificate from my hosting company for my membership site as the secure server was not built into the shopping cart that is built into the membership site software. When you use Paypal or any version of you are safe as your customers’ transactions are transmitted through a secure server.

When you make sure your computer and email are protected from spam, viruses, malware and the like, your customers will be safe when you email them or upload something to your website that they can access. Responsible online business owners must take every precaution at their disposal to improve internet safety for everyone involved.

Source by Donna Gunter

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