Security Smarts

Privacy on the Web is never perfect, but a few simple precautions will go a long way

• Pick strong passwords. Use a mix of letters, symbols and numbers, following the guidelines at

• Use different passwords for different Web services. And never use your Web passwords for PIN codes on credit, debit, or ATM cards.

• Don't reveal sensitive information—not even in "private" areas of services such as Facebook or Flickr (YHOO) that offer public access to most material.

• Don't share files on services that offer optional sharing, such as Google Docs, unless there is a real need.

• Keep data whose disclosure would create legal liability or embarrassment on your personal hard drives and storage devices.

• Avoid file-sharing services such as Lime Wire that distribute pirated files. Both the services and the downloads can open your computer to prying eyes.

• Apply the latest security updates to all your software, including operating systems, browsers, and antivirus programs.

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