Internet Security

How to stay safe on the internet

The internet can be a bounty of free information, social interaction and online shopping.  The danger is that one brief lapse of  attention can lead to lost time, money, frustration and possibly credit card fraud or identity theft.

While there are no 100% effective methods of protecting yourself online, the idea is to make sure your information isn’t the low hanging fruit so that attackers will move on to easier victims. You can be reasonably safe by following a few simple guidelines.  Think of it like car or house insurance; there are multiple levels of protection depending on what price you’re willing to pay.

Guidelines for Internet Safety

  1. Be skeptical – The #1 rule of internet safety – Consider every link to be potentially malicious until you’ve asked yourself:
    1. Do I know and trust this person or company?
    2. Does the link or email look like it actually came from  who you think. (Spelling mistakes, sloppy graphics, bad grammar etc.)
    3. Does it look like something they would ask you to click on. Most reputable entities won’t ask for account numbers, passwords or other personal info in emails.
  2. Use strong passwords
  3. Use 2-step verification
  4. Use Antivirus 
  5. Use a Firewall
  6. Turn on Windows Update and allow it to update other Microsoft software
  7. Backup everything important 
  8. Disable or keep common  apps up-to-date – If you use Java or Flash or other common browser helper apps which are known to be delivery methods for malware, either disable them if you don’t need them or enable their auto-update feature and run it when prompted to update.