Online Safety - Top 10 Tips
The convenience of computers and the Internet come with risks,
including viruses that could erase your entire system or hackers
who could steal your personal information. It's important
that you keep informed of the latest threats, and the best ways to
stay safe online.
- Passwords should have at least 8 characters and include upper
and lower case letters, numerals and special characters.
- Do not use the same password for different accounts.
2) Use of External Devices
- Be cautious of connecting your computer to devices such as
thumb drives, smartphones and mobile devices that do not belong to
3) Phishing and Social Engineering
- These scams work to obtain your personal information.
- Be cautious about all communications you receive, especially
those containing links or attachments, even if it seems to be from
a trusted source.
- Do not respond to any unsolicited emails and do not open
attachments contained in those messages.
4) Online Transactions
- Shop only at sites for companies you are familiar with and
- Look for the lock symbol or https in the website URL to
indicate the transaction is secure.
- Be wary of potential scams - if it sounds too good to be true,
it probably is.
- Don't use a public computer or public wireless network for
- Make payments by credit card rather than debit card.
5) Admin vs. Non-Admin Accounts
- Hackers can potentially take control of your computer by
accessing an administrator, or admin account.
- Non-admin accounts limit a hacker's ability to harm your
- Always run your computer as a non-administrator unless
6) Updating Your Systems and Software
- Keep your systems and software up-to-date, as the latest
versions often fix vulnerabilities of previous versions.
- Set programs and systems to auto-update to avoid missing a
7) Protecting and Securing Mobile Devices
- Establish a password and enable screen lock or auto lock on all
- Disable Bluetooth functionality if you do not use it (some are
enabled by default).
- Encrypt data and data transmissions whenever possible.
8) Enable Your Firewall
- A firewall is a software program or hardware device that
filters the traffic between your network or computer and the
- Firewalls can block intruders and unwanted traffic from getting
into your computer.
- Make sure your firewall is enabled.
9) Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Programs
- These programs can stop viruses, worms and other malware.
- Can stop pop-up advertising, malware that collects personal
information, or changes the configuration of your computer.
- Keep these programs up-to-date by keeping the license active
and the program set to auto-update.
10) Secure Wireless Networks
- Minimize the risk to your wireless network by enabling
encryption, changing the default password, changing the name of
your network, as well as turning off SSID broadcasting.
- Allows you to designate and restrict which computers can
connect to your wireless network.
Social Media Security Tips
The popularity of social networking sites has expanded
tremendously in recent years. These sites continue to be
prime targets for malware distribution and scams.
What precautions should I take?
Keep Your System Updated
- Make sure any computer you use has up-to-date anti-virus and
anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
- Set the configuration to auto-update.
Use Strong and Unique Passwords
- Using the same password on all accounts increases the
vulnerability of other accounts if one becomes compromised.
Use Caution When Clicking on Links
- If a link seems odd, suspicious, or too good to be true, do not
click on it.
- Remember, even your friend's account is not safe - it may have
been hacked or infected and is now spreading malware.
- Do not choose a screen name that gives too much personal
Social Networking Sites
- Do not assume privacy on these sites.
- Only post information that you are comfortable disclosing to a
- Once information is posted online, it can potentially be viewed
by anyone and may not be retracted afterwards.
- Some sites will share your email address or user preferences
with other parties.
information, do not use the site.
Mobile/Tablet Device Security
As mobile devices continue to take on the characteristics of
personal computers, they also inherit the same potential
risks. Some of the primary risks include:
- Loss of the device - millions of mobile communication devices
are lost each year.
- Bluetooth - when enabled, these devices are subject to
eavesdropping and "highjacking."
- Malware - if installed on your mobile device a hacker can
access all the information on your phone, trace your location,
listen and record your calls, even make calls on your behalf.
- Free Sites - sites offering free games or ring tones are major
distributors of malware.
- Worms and viruses - while the risk is relatively low at this
point, this is expected to increase in the future.
What can I do to secure my mobile communication device?
- Use a password to access your device.
- If the Bluetooth functionality is not used, be sure this
setting is disabled.
- Do not open attachments from untrusted sources.
- Do not follow links to untrusted sources, especially from
unsolicited email or text messages.
- Review the security setting on your device to ensure
appropriate protection - encrypt data transmissions whenever
- Enable storage encryption - this will help protect the data
stored on your device in the event it is lost or stolen.
- Beware of downloading any software to your device.
- Before disposing of the device, wipe all data from it.