1. Keep systems patched

Software manufacturers issue program updates containing patches to fix known vulnerabilities. Set Microsoft Windows and Office to automatically update. Manually update other programs like Adobe Acrobat, iTunes, Flash and Java.

2. Limit exposure

Create separate accounts for all family members. This will make it harder for cybercriminals to install malware on your computer.

"Remember, always think about the information you are giving out and when in doubt, don’t."

3. Protect your desktop

Install a reputable antivirus/antispyware product and keep it up-to-date. Sophisticated cybercriminals can get past basic antivirus/antispyware software. Antivirus is necessary but not sufficient.

4. Secure your Wifi

If you have a wireless network, encrypt it with WPA2 encryption. Otherwise anyone near you can eavesdrop on your communications and piggy-back on your connection.

5. Beware of scams

Don’t click on web-site ads or pop-ups offering to scan your computer for free. Cybercriminals love to take advantage of people’s fear of getting a virus. Instead of scanning your computer, these programs will infect it.

6. Always be wary

Don’t follow links in unfamiliar or unusual emails, especially those requesting your user names, passwords, or financial information. A SPAM filter can help you avoid these e-mails but you must be on guard for emails that get past your SPAM filter.

7. Defense strategy

Be careful with your financial information online. Use a credit card rather than a debit card when shopping on-line. Link PayPal to your credit card, not your bank account. Federal law limits your credit card exposure to $50. There is no corresponding limit if you use a debit card (even though many banks cover debit card fraud).

Remember, always think about the information you are giving out and when in doubt, don’t.