How not to get hacked

A spy virus stole millions of passwords. Here's how to keep your password secure.

Don't be stupid

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Cybercriminals are experts at duping people into downloading malicious software that can give them access to your personal information and passwords.

But there are commonsense steps you can take to avoid getting hacked:

Avoid bad links: Check where a link is taking you before you click it. Rest your mouse cursor on the link (don't click!) and examine the address. If it is supposed to take you to "Music.com" but will take you instead to "x78vyt.net," it's suspect.

Don't visit questionable websites: The dark corners of the Internet are real-life slums. Porn sites are notorious malware havens.

Don't fall for phishing scams: We all know to ignore emails from our distant Nigerian uncle prince in need of a wire transfer. But more modern scams use all sorts of bait. They pose as your bank, email provider or social media sites. But banks won't ask to reset your password via email. And threats to "shut down your account" are highly questionable.

Don't download from unknown sources: Only pull files from websites you trust. You're literally accepting an unopened box from someone else.

- Last updated December 05 2013 01:49 PM ET
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