Digital Age Security can provide the tools you can use the protect your personal data on the internet.

The first step is to learn what are the most important threats.

As with any tool, the internet is used just as easily for productivity as it is for crime. With this page we will cover the basics of cybersecurity for individuals as well as businesses. Government and infrastructure are also at risk, but protecting them is well out of the scope of an individual reader of this website. The good news is that by educating yourself and taking a few steps, you can protect yourself from the most common types of cybercrime.

Identity Theft: Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information (PI) and uses it to commit fraud. PI can include social security numbers, an address or a credit card number. About 7 million Americans suffer some form of identity theft each year, with a total cost of $15.4 billion in 2014.
About 25 percent of cases are simple credit card fraud, in which a person attempts to use an illegally obtained number to make charges. The good news for the individual is that generally you are not responsible for charges made on a stolen card. Of course, the real cost will be eventually passed onto all customers in the form of higher fees or interest rates.
In other cases, a thief with your personal information may try to apply for new credit in your name. These cases can be much more difficult to resolve, so it's important to stay on top of your credit report and catch and fraud as early as possible. Although you generally won't be liable for fraudulent charges in these cases either, it can be really difficult to eliminate fraudulent information from your record.

How to Protect yourself:
1. Monitor your credit report closely. You can order free reports annually, or more often if you think you have been a victim of identity theft.
2. Think before you give out your information. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable website before entering credit card numbers or other PI online.
3. Keep an eye on your cards: Small-scale thieves may use card-skimmers or even lower tech techniques to get your info.
4. Act fast. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud or theft, contact your card issuers right away. They should quickly monitor your account and replace your card number if necessary.

Spam and Phishing: Spam is unwanted email. Nearly everyone's account receives multiple spam messages daily. Many spam emails may be trying to sell you something legitimate, even if they obtained your private email address by questionable means. Other, more insidious spam messages may contain malware or other dangerous content.

Phishing is email that contains bait – usually a deal or offer that's too good to be true – that is designed to get you to respond. The response may just be an attempt to verify that your account is active (so they can send more spam) or it could be an attempt to get you to disclose your PI.

VIDEO: This is what happens when you reply to spam email

How to protect yourself:
1. Use a spam filter. Email clients or your internet provider can automatically block a lot of spam. Keep your email software and browsers updated to the latest version.
2. Do not click on links in questionable emails. If you are unsure whether an email is genuine, try to investigate the originating site online in another tab in the browser instead of directly clicking on a link.

Hacking: The most advanced and skilled computer criminals are always at the cutting edge of breaking through the levels of protection be erect around our computer systems. But your average cybercriminal is looking for easy targets such as unsecured home networkstno

How to protect yourself:
1. Turn encryption on. Be sure your wi-fi network at home is encrypted with a strong password.
2. Use a firewall. Be sure your wireless router has its firewall turned on. Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS also come with software firewalls built in.
3. Use a MAC address filter. A MAC address is a unique identifier that every networked piece of hardware has. You can turn this on in your router's setup software and then enter the MAC address of all your computers and mobile devices. This will block access from any non-authorized device.

Ransomware: Ransomware is an attack where a cybercriminal accesses your computer and encrypts your data. The Ransomware will demand that you send money to obtain the decryption key. They attack can come from clicking on an email containing an infected file or can be placed there by hackers accessing your network.

How to protect yourself:
1. Keep your operating system and all software updated to the latest version.
2. Don't click on executable files from unknown email sources.
3. Use a good internet security suite.
4. Back up your data regularly. A good backup can save your important data from a Ransomware attack.

Social Engineering: The human factor can be the biggest security hole in any system. This type of threat is as old as human history, based on the fact that people can and do make mistakes. It can be easier to trick a person into telling you their information than actually hacking in and trying to steal it. Types of tricks include the use of fake banking emails or phony messages from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

How to protect yourself:
1. Use the anonymizer features available on your browser.
2. Think before responding to any email or message, even from known trusted contacts.
3. Verify information such as website addresses or email links.
4. Be skeptical and trust your gut.
5. Never give out personal information to unknown websites.