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Security - Protect Your eBay Account

A great concern for eBay users, especially sellers, is the security of their account. Here's our tips on staying safe, protecting your account and avoiding some of the common pitfalls when it comes to eBay security.

First of all, choose a good eBay password. It's best to use combinations of numbers and letters as these are safer than all letters or all numbers. Never use generic passwords such as 'password', the name of someone close to you or anything that could be easily guessed. Don't give someone else your login details either if at all possible. If you do, ask yourself if you trust them 100% before doing so.

Don't use the same password for eBay and PayPal - if someone gets hold of one they will try using it on your other accounts too. It's also recommended that you change your password(s) every 30-60 days. With eBay you can also set up your secret question for added security.

Emails and Messages

If you're selling on eBay, you're almost certain to receive messages from potential buyers. How can you spot a fake eBay message or PayPal email? The first rule of eBay messages is to always check you've actually received it into your eBay message box. Some emails will be made to look as if they've come from eBay, but if the message is not also duplicated in your 'My Messages' box in eBay, then it's not a genuine message. If you're not sure, you can forward the message to (or for PayPal emails) for them to check. Never click a link in an email to log into your account, this is more than likely a 'phishing' attempt - you click the link, sign in with your password and the password is then known to whoever sent the email. A good way of spotting fake links is to hover your mouse pointer over the link, then look at the bottom left corner of your screen, this should show where the link is pointing to. If it's a genuine link to log in to a secure site it should begin with https (s for secure) not just http.

A common trick is for someone to send you an email saying that your account has been restricted or compromised telling you to click this link to login and check why. Another popular scam is a fake invitation to join the eBay Powerseller Programme. Remember the golden rule - never click a link in an email. The scammers are clever and sometimes quite sophisticated, but sometimes there are spelling errors in the fake emails too, which is usually an indication that it's not genuine. Generally, genuine messages will use your real name or user name too to indicate that the message is from eBay. Fake messages often start with 'Dear User' or 'Dear eBay member'. eBay or PayPal will never ask you to disclose personal information in an email.

Ensure Your Contact Details Are Up To Date

eBay recently introduced measures to protect members by checking if they're trying to list from a different computer than normal. That way, if someone does gain access to your account they won't be able to create lots of fake listings. However, this means it's very important to keep your account details up to date, as eBay will phone you using an automated service so you can confirm your identity if you're using a different computer. If your phone number is out of date, or they can't get hold of you, then your account will be suspended to protect you. See here for an overview of eBay's identity confirmation procedure.

What If My eBay Account Is Compromised?

If the worst happens and your eBay account is hacked or compromised, you can report it here. Give eBay as many details as you can, such as item numbers if possible, and your name and address. They should be able to help you get your account back quickly, and hopefully help you recover any fees that were incurred as a result of the fraud.

Security Software

There are three basic types of computer security programs you need to protect yourself from attack. A firewall, an anti-virus package and a spyware cleaner.

A firewall controls the flow of information to and from your PC when you're online. It has two basic functions - first to stop outsiders accessing your data and second to stop unauthorised software such as a virus from sending your information out to other computers via the internet.

Anti-virus software is another must for anyone using the internet. A virus can come in many forms, some are set to destroy files on your computer, others to record keystrokes and steal your passwords. There are literally hundreds of thousands of viruses, with many variants of each. It's also important to keep your anti-virus database up to date as there are many new viruses released each day. A virus is often called a worm or a trojan, which are similar, but technically different. They are all to be avoided and dealt with quickly.

Spyware removers are the third weapon in your arsenal against attack on your computer. Spyware is also known as malware or adware. Spyware is software that is put on your computer without your consent, usually to gather some kind of information. This could be fairly harmless such as tracking your browsing habits (but still an invasion of your privacy) or it could be more serious and try to harvest sensitive information such as passwords or bank details. Spyware also often changes your browser settings and generally slows down the performance of your PC.

Spyware Doctor

It's not recommended to have more than one anti-virus package installed as they can clash. The same applies to firewalls. Spyware killers are different as you choose when you want to run them. We've found using a combination of two or three spyware destroyers usually does the trick.

There is much choice when it comes to security software. Here's a brief review of what we believe to be the best. Some of it is free, with the option to pay for an upgraded version. Bear in mind though that if you're using your PC for your business, your security needs to be top notch. The free software is free for a reason, it's often a basic product with limited features. You should be able to count any security software purchases as a business expense, so maybe the question should be 'Can you afford not to?'

AVG Anti Virus - AVG is a popular choice for free anti-virus protection. Get basic protection for home use against viruses, spyware and identity theft - absolutely free. For more advanced, all round protection they provide premium products such as AVG Anti-Virus Pro or AVG Internet Security which also includes a firewall.

A-Squared Anti Virus - A-squared from Emsisoft provides award winning, all round protection from viruses, spyware, trojans, worms and more. Available totally free for download, a-squared often picks up threats that other free AV software misses, due to it's deep scanning and cutting edge detection. Also available as a premium package with enhanced features.

Eset Nod32 Anti Virus - When it comes to premium virus protection, Nod32 from Eset is up there with the best. ESET delivers the fastest, most effective and most proactive antivirus software with spyware and malware protection to eliminate viruses, adware, worms, trojans and rootkits before they attack your system. It was named "Best Antivirus Product of 2007" by AV-Comparatives. Available as a free 30 day trial download.

McAffee - McAffee also offer a full range of award winning anti-virus and internet security products for home and business, at great value prices. Easy to set up and use, they offer virus and spyware protection, firewalls, anti spam software and much more.

PC Tools offer a range of products, including a free Anti-Virus solution, or you can purchase the full version for more features and better protection. The link for the free version is near the bottom of the page. Click here for their full range of security products, many of them with free versions available.

Avast Anti Virus - Avast offers good virus and spyware protection with daily updates. With over 60 million users, it's certainly easy to recommend. Easy to use and will even work with older versions of Windows such as Windows 95. Avast offers free anti-virus protection for home users, with upgrades available for premium protection. There are also versions for Linux and Mac.

ZoneAlarm Firewall - Zone Alarm is another popular choice for a free basic firewall. It blocks traffic until you allow it, offering protection against hackers, especially if you have broadband. Zone Alarm is free for individual use.

PC Tools Firewall - PC Tools offer a wide range of free and premium internet security products, including an easy to use and very effective firewall, PC Tools Firewall and Other Products

Comodo Firewall - Comodo also offer a great range of PC security solutions, including a free award winning firewall to protect you from intrusion.

Adaware - Adaware by Lavasoft is one of the best known spyware killers with over 10 years in the adware detection business, and is available for free or in a fully featured premium version. With real-time monitoring, threat alerts, and automatic updates you can rest easy knowing that you are protected.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is an anti-malware application that can thoroughly remove even the most advanced malware. It includes a number of features, including a built in protection monitor that blocks malicious processes before they even start, and is considered to be the next step in the detection and removal of malware. It can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect. Available as a free version, or a fully featured premium version

Super Anti Spyware is the most thorough scanner on the market. The Multi-Dimensional Scanning and Process Interrogation Technology will detect spyware other products miss! Easily remove pests such as WinFixer, SpyAxe, SpyFalcon, and thousands more! Repair broken Internet Connections, Desktops, Registry Editing and more with our unique Repair System. With daily updates it's one of the best Spyware killers around.

Don't forget that any security software is almost useless if it's not kept updated. Whatever programs you use, it's vital that you update the database often, daily if possible, to keep up with all the latest attacks.

Best Selling Internet Security Software on Amazon

Other Useful Software

Hijack This is also a very useful piece of software. It is a free utility which quickly scans your Windows computer to find settings that may have been changed by spyware, malware or other unwanted programs. HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan. Not recommended for beginners, but it's very useful to remove unwanted intrusions that other AV software can't.

Winpatrol is a fantastic general purpose tool that every PC should have. It has an advanced task manager, startup control, activex protector and more. It will inform you if any programs have changed, making it essential for monitoring your PC security. It's totally free and easy to use.

Run Windows Updates

Windows is vulnerable to attack, and there are updates practically every day to fix a hole that could compromise your security. It's important for Windows users that you regularly run Windows Update to keep your PC safe. Also consider using Mozilla Firefox as your web browser, which is not as vulnerable as Microsoft's Internet Explore browser.
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