These Are a Few of My Favorite Things to Stay Safe Online

online security

As the month of October is coming to a close, so does National Cyber Security Awareness Month. You have most likely seen posts throughout the month on how to stay safe online. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of my favorite tips from Stop | Think | Connect.

  • Keep security software current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. If you have not heard, beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. If IE is your browser of choice now is the time to upgrade. It is important to understand that if you are not running the most current version you will NOT be getting security updates. This will be a vulnerability that people will take advantage of.

  • Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and, potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer. Use the setting on your phone to wipe the device after too many failed login attempts. If you receive a new device (or will during the holiday season) before returning or giving the device to someone else, remember you should wipe the device.

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

  • When in doubt, don’t respond. Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or to immediate action are almost always a scam.

  • Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure   This means the possibility exists that anyone can see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to it. Think about what you are doing and if you would want another person to see it. Anyone can use a MIFI device and create a WIFI hotspot.

  • Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

  • Share With Care What you post can last a lifetime: Before posting online, think about what others might learn about you and who might see it in the future ‒ teachers, parents, colleges and potential employers. Share the best of yourself online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. Recent research (http://www.microsoft.com/privacy/dpd/research.aspx) found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online. • Be aware of what’s being shared: Be aware that when you post a picture or video online, you may also be sharing information about others or personal details about yourself like where you live, go to school or hang out. • Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well. Ask permission before you tag a friend in a photo.

  • If you are reading this post you are using social media, the StopThinkConnect web site https://stopthinkconnect.org/resources has resources for you! I would recommend watching the video How to get two steps ahead on your LinkedIn account.

Stay Safe, and Share with others!