Banks and large enterprises aren’t the only entities that need protection online. Each person plays a pivotal role in not only safeguarding their digital identity, but also fighting the greater cyber war. By staying diligent and aware when online, individual users can go a long way in protecting their personal security and safety.

Armor’s head of threat research and development, Dr. Chase Cunningham offers critical advice to eWeek, which was part of 12 tips to help users avoid becoming an easy target.

Cunningham notes that it’s always smart to validate that a URL matches the site you want to visit. Malicious groups will purchase domains that look similar to a popular site, but actually hosts tools to steal personal information, credit card numbers and other sensitive data. This advice is even more valuable as we head into the busy shopping season.

 “Often, hackers and cyber criminals will replace one character for a domain name or URL with something that looks similar, but the site isn’t the one you wanted to visit,” Cunningham told eWeek. “Then, when you click on the ‘buy’ link or any other interactive script, your computer will get owned.”

Cunningham also noted to be wary of unusual or unexpected communication from friends, co-workers or neighbors. They may be unknowingly distributing malware.

“Many PCs are already hacked and have malware that is sending malicious content,” he said. “Your neighbor might have you in his/her address book, and when the time of year comes around for Black Friday deals, for example, the malware will send malicious links to everyone in that address book.”

For eWeek’s remaining personal security tips, read “Tips for Improving Enterprise, Personal Security Online.”