The internet has opened up many avenues for us that weren’t there before we all started to get online. Facebook, online dating, bill paying online are just a few things that have come as a result of the internet. But just like when you drive a car you should not pass red lights because it is dangerous, you should avoid doing the wrong things while online. Here are 7 things to not do while online in the interest of internet safety:
- Use the same passwords on multiple sites – So who is guilty of this one? Do you have the same key for your car, home, storage, etc? Of course not. Know why? Well you probably do. If you did, if someone got one key they would have the key to all. So if you have the same password for your email, Amazon, bank accounts, credit cards then all someone has to do is get your password and they have the keys to the kingdom. So if you have the same passwords for all sites, start creating new passwords right away.
- Posting online when you are going on vacation and coming back online or some variation of - I have a friend of mine who posted on Facebook the Saturday morning he was leaving for New Orleans that he was going to Pat O’Brien’s for drink that night. I was able to call him in time to tell him not only that Pat O’Brien’s is packed on a Saturday night but also to delete the post. People did not need to know that he was away.
- Doing financial transactions from a public Wi-Fi network without taking precautions – Especially if it an open network. There may be hackers on the network who could get access to your personal information if you do. You need to use a good Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you want to access sensitive information on a public network.
- Don’t open attachments from an unfamiliar email address – If you receive an email from an unfamiliar person or an email address with an attachment, do not open the attachment. It could be a virus or other malware and your computer could become infected. For that matter don’t click on web links from someone unfamiliar either.
- Not having internet security software on your computer – I have seen this one a little too often and I am including security software that has expired. Make sure you have updated security software on your computer. It will diminish the chances of you getting a virus or other malware on your computer.
- Make sure you log out of a public computer – I remember volunteering at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills once and while working with someone told him the importance of logging out of his accounts when he was done (it was on their computer). What happened when I finished working with him? You guessed it, he started to leave without signing out of his email account. I promptly reminded him that he needed to log out. This was a bigger issue in the days before smartphones and tablets. If you use a computer at a hotel, library or other public place make sure you log out of any accounts when you are done using them. Do you want a stranger to have access to your email, Facebook or other online account?
- Don’t post incriminating information online. I tell people, “What you put out there is out there” Some of the things I have seen out there will make you flinch. A Facebook post complaining about their boss (are they Facebook friends with them also? Also not good if one of their Facebook friends is friends with the boss), a copy of a driver’s license or passport (yes I saw someone post this on LinkedIn) so be careful with what you post.
Have you done any of these 7 and if so which ones? Has it come back to haunt you?
Feel free to forward this to others who may benefit. If you want to know more about online safety or other technology aspects, I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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