Internet Safety Tips
In this day and age, almost everyone uses a computer or smart phone. Hackers, scammers, and identity thieves can pose a safety problem if you aren’t being careful. Follow these tips to increase your safety on the internet.
- Create smart passwords – Use capital and lower case letters, numbers, special characters (e.g., exclamation points), and make it longer than six characters. Make it hard for someone to crack. You should also change your password every year and avoid using the same password for multiple sites.
- Use email wisely – Be careful what information you send over email. Never send your credit card information, Social Security Number, or anything else that could be used to take your identity. Even if you have a security program on your computer, whoever you are sending this information to might not!
- Be smart when using instant messaging (IM) programs and social media sites – It is easy for someone to lie about their identity and use a fake name. Make sure you know exactly who you are talking to and don’t give out personal information.
- Shop safely – If you plan to order from an online store, be sure that the Web site uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the Web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears at the bottom right of the checkout screen, or that there is a statement on the checkout screen stating that the pages are secure with a security technology vendor. Check that the security technology does exist by checking the security technology company’s web site.
- If possible, use a company like Paypal as a middle man so you don’t have to directly enter in credit card information to buy something. It provides an extra layer of security.
- Watch out for phishing scams – Phishers use fraudulent emails, fake advertisements, and fake websites (that appear real) to lure unsuspecting victims to revealing private information. If you receive an email from a user you do not trust, delete it immediately, do not reply to them, do not open any links, and report the user.
- Get computer security software – Computer security services can protect help protect against viruses, spyware, adware, spam, and identity theft. It can be purchased online or at a store that sells computers.
Always be vigilant online and share this post with your friends so they know how to protect themselves as well!
*This information was originally posted on the McAfee Computer security website and formatted and condensed to fit this website.
Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern