Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Safe Internet Behavior
Dear Friends - This is a Public Service Announcement for safe Internet behavior. I work in high tech and my company does a good job of teaching us to use the Internet safely. I want to pass along some best practices.
#1 - Don't shop or check your bank statements while using public wifi (e.g., from Starbuck's or the library). Save the online shopping for when you are connected to a private network. And make sure that your home wifi is password protected!
#2 - Only enter your personal information and credit card info at websites that start with https:// That "s" on the end of the string stands for "secure" and is really important.
#3 - Beware of holiday spam. Unfortunately, many e-greetings come with hidden malware. Watch out for spoofs (see #4) and avoid email pleas for donations (see #5). I sound a little like the Grinch here - but please use caution with those "forward" e-mails that direct you to click on a link. While you may be taken to a funny video, you may also be downloading malware. I don't click any link from a funny/forward email unless I personally know the original source of the website (and that's rare).
#4 - Never, ever, ever click a link that looks suspicious. For example, you may receive an email out of the blue that looks like it's from a friend, but says only, "Check this out!" and points you to a link. STOP!! Don't click that link. Instead, send a fresh (not a reply) email to your friend and ask if she intended to send you a link.
#5 - When donating money, go straight to the charity's website (e.g., www.redcross.com) rather than clicking on links in an email or website sidebar.
#6 - Don't tell the world or all of your Facebook friends that you're going to be out of town. It's great to wax poetic after you've returned, but don't advertise in advance.
#7 - Check your social media privacy settings. I've noticed that Facebook changes things a lot and I'm regularly needing to re-set my privacy settings to more stringent choices. Make this a regular habit.
#8 - Keep your virus protection software up to date.
#9 - Regularly check for spyware. (I like the Spybot product and it's free.)
#10 - Accept Facebook Friend invitations with caution. I only accept friends from people I know well, and I only do this from within Facebook itself after I've logged in with my password. I do not accept them from email (see #4). Facebook emails can be spoofed, so it's best to do your business within the application.
Got any other tips to share?