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While your physical security comes first, always, your cyber security is gradually becoming more and more important. As the Internet becomes bigger and yet more personal at the same time, any sort of cyber security threat can almost now be taken offline with ease. What can you do about it?

The first thing to do whenever you purchase a new computer or buy software is to make sure you’re buying it from a reputable source. If you buy from a company like Best Buy in person, it’s less of a concern — but if you’re buying off eBay because it’s “cheaper,” then you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. If the technology you’re buying seems underpriced, that’s probably for a very good reason. Once you have it in your hands and it’s been checked out, then you want to make sure you have an anti-virus software. Many brands will sell you their anti-virus programs with the computer, so for that reason, it’s often best to buy directly from the maker or from a trusted store affiliate.

If you plan to do anything online, be careful. With the rise of social media, it’s easy to put every single thing about yourself out there without thinking. If you announce that you’re going away on vacation on social media, you just made it a lot easier for potential thieves. If you share other personal details about yourself, it’s easy to attract people who don’t have your best interests at heart. They even made a TV show about that — it’s called Catfish. These people set up fake profiles to lure others in, going so far as to create a relationship, but they never reveal who they are or offer to meet in person. They may not cause physical damage, but they take an emotional toll on the victim.

Social media has its pitfalls as well. There are people out there who will look for tweets (on Twitter) that they don’t agree with, and gather up their friends to attack the person behind the tweet. They don’t just insult either; some people go as far as to “doxy,” which is where they reveal even more personal information like an address or a telephone number to encourage people to harass further. While social media has brought a lot of people closer together in a good way, it’s also made it a lot easier for people to do bad things. If you’re online and have social media, it’s a good idea to make all of your accounts private. If you have to have a public account for work reasons, be very careful about what information is connected with it.

Cyber security is becoming increasingly important by the day — or maybe even the minute. The Internet moves quickly and while you may not always be able to stay ahead of it, at least you can stay protected. Taking the first few steps online to protect yourself offline could very well save your life some day.