Internet Safety Basics

There’s been progressively more talk over the last few years about Cyber Security and protecting yourself online, and for good reason. More and more is being done online every day, from online shopping, online banking, to simply watching movies almost nothing is out of reach.

General Security

  • Don’t reuse passwords. There is always the potential for a password leak, and if you use the same password for every account it’s much easier for hackers to get into your accounts.
  • Use secure passwords. Secure passwords contain letters, numbers, and often times special characters. Avoid using passwords such as, “12345678”, “password”, “qwerty”, “letmein”, and “admin”.
  • Change your passwords often.

Computer Security

  • Use antivirus programs. Think of antivirus programs like a flu shot, the program can help keep you from being infected but it’s not 100%, stuff may still slip through.
  • Be careful of the programs you download. Only download software from a trusted, official site.
  • When making purchases online it’s a good idea to use a gift card or credit card instead of your debit card.

Email Security

  • Avoid software that comes in email attachments.
  • Beware of phishing (fishing) emails. These are typically emails that look like they’re from a trusted source and they will be asking for personal information such as your credit card number, social security number or much more. No official source will ever ask for these things through email. If you suspect it might not be a phishing call the company on a phone number that you know and trust.
  • If you don’t recognize an email from a particular email; chances are high that it’s just a junk message. Instead of opening it, just delete it; and whatever you do don’t click the link or open the attachment that came with it.
  • Sorry to tell you, there’s no foreign prince or government that’s looking to give you free money. It’s one of those scams that falls under the “too good to be true” umbrella.
  • If you receive an email from someone you know that seems a little fishy, instead of emailing them back, give them a call instead. It never hurts to verify that the email you received is really from someone you know.

Social Media Security

  • Only friend people on social media that you actually know.
  • Check the security and privacy settings on your profile.
  • If you are going away for any length of time, it’s a good idea avoid announcing it online. It gives thieves a good idea of how long they have to get away with your stuff. Instead, post those great vacation photos and videos when you get home. Bonus, you’re not using your cellular data package!
  • Avoid posting your home address, phone number and other information. While it makes it easy for your friends to find you, it’s also easier for others.
  • Assume that everything you post online is permanent, because it kind of is. A post can be deleted, but that doesn’t prevent others from taking a screen shot of what was said.

One last thing, if you ever feel like you have had a security breach or even if you just have any questions, calling a trusted source such as one of the Computer Technicians from 24-7 / West Wisconsin Telcom is always encouraged.