Proven Security Tips, Tools, and Tactics to Stay Safe Online (Part 1 of 2)

The Internet serves as an incredible tool for educators and students to communicate, seek information, and learn. The wide availability of computers and Internet connections gives everyone 24-hour access to information, credit and financial services, and purchases.

Unfortunately, there are people who exploit the Internet through their criminal activities and other harmful acts. Cybercriminals use creative measures to gain unauthorized access to your computer and then use that access to steal your identity, commit fraud, or even launch cyber attacks against others.

Staying safe online is no longer a given, but a necessary extracurricular activity. Here are nine safety measures you can use right away to protect yourself, your family, and your business. By following the recommended cybersecurity measures outlined here, you can limit the damage that cybercriminals can cause not just to your computer, but to everyone’s computer. However, keep in mind that there is no single cyber security measure or technology solution that will prevent your cybercrime. These recommended cybersecurity measures highlight that using a set of common sense precautions including internet habits and technology solutions can make a difference.

The National Cyber ​​Security Alliance recommends eight measures. To that, I have added an additional. These are practical steps, in no particular order, you can take to stay safe online and avoid becoming a victim of fraud, identity theft, or cybercrime.

1. Protect your children online. Implement parental control tools provided by some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and available for purchase as separate software packages. Remember: No program is a substitute for parental supervision. Also check your browser to see if it would allow you to configure some parental controls. (Internet Explorer allows you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find those options, click Tools on the menu bar, select Internet Options, choose the tab Content, and click the Enable button under the Content Advisor).

2. Make backup copies of important files regularly. No system is completely secure. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them to a removable disk and store them in a safe place in a different building than your computer. If a different location is not practical, consider using encryption software. Encryption software encrypts a message or file in a way that can only be reversed with a specific password. Also, make sure you have the original software boot disks handy and accessible for use in the event of a system failure.

3. Protect your valuable personal and financial information. Do not open unknown or unsolicited email messages. If you receive an email or pop-up requesting personal information, do not reply or click the link in the message. To open such messages, you can disable the “Preview Pane” functionality in your email programs and you can configure its default options to prevent emails opened as plain text to avoid hot links or pop-ups in messages. Most importantly, do not respond to requests for personal or financial information.

If you believe that such information may be required by a company with which you have an account or placed an order, please contact that company directly in a way that you know is genuine. Never send your personal information by email because email is not a secure method of transmission.

4. Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology to help protect your personal information. To further increase the security of your identity online and to help protect yourself from account hijacking, take advantage of the strongest authentication tools wherever they are available. This can take the form of two-factor authentication: combining a password or PIN (something you know) with a token, a smart card, or even a biometric device (something you have).

Stronger authentication can also come from a behind-the-scenes identity verification process, which uses various pieces of information to establish whether or not a user is genuine. Ask your bank, your regular online retailers, and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if they offer stronger authentication tools for more secure transactions.

5. Know who you are dealing with online. Every day millions of computer users share files online, be it as email, documents or photos. File sharing can give people access to a wealth of information, including music, games, and software. Downloads special software that connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running the same software. Millions of users could connect with each other through this software at the same time. The software is often free and easily accessible, but file sharing can carry several risks.

(to) If you don’t check the appropriate settings, you could allow access not only to the files you want to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, such as your tax returns, emails, medical records, photos, or other personal information. documents.

(B)Also, you may unknowingly download porn tagged as something else. Or you can download material that is protected by copyright laws, which could mean that you are breaking the law.

Therefore, downloading file sharing software is not recommended and could put your personal information and your computer at risk. If you decide to use file sharing software, set it up very carefully. Take the time to read the End User License Agreement to ensure that you are sharing files legally and that you understand the potentially high risk of any free downloads. For example, some license agreements include an agreement to allow spyware to be installed on your machine.

Although the Internet basically provides a positive and productive experience, cyberattacks against our privacy and personal security are reaching epidemic proportions. These attacks are happening in our own homes and businesses. Our own computers are being used like zombies to attack other people, companies, and even our own nation. As an average Internet user, you may not be aware of these threats and have no idea of ​​the increasing risks you face when connecting to the Internet.

In an Internet safety protection and awareness campaign, my mission is to bring critical awareness to individuals, families, and small business owners, and provide access to the necessary tools and ongoing expertise to secure your computer and help you stay protected. .

I invite you to join the many thousands of people who have tested their computers, discovered that these threats are real, and have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Now that you have learned about these issues, I encourage you to share this vital information with your families, friends, and communities. Together, we can reach many millions of people and inform them about threats to their privacy and security, and help them get the protection they desperately need.

Remember: When you say “No!” hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don’t, we all lose!© MMVII, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Internet Safety Educator and Advocate

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