On Friday, September 7th (at Noon EST), I delivered a webinar exploring cyber safety tips like these. We took a deep dive into ways that digital devices and apps are causing us harm. The recorded webinar is available to view here:
In the meanwhile, here are some tips to keep in mind every day as you browse the web and connect digitally. I've supplemented some of these items with links to additional information.
1. Opening unsolicited emails
People posing to be from a credible organization phishing for personal information. Try to avoid opening emails that are from unfamiliar persons. If you do end up opening the email beware of opening attachments and links. To safely visit a link type in the URL rather than clicking a link.
2. Visiting Unsecure Websites
Unsecured websites can leave you susceptible to cybercrime so try to avoid these. Here is a list of ways to determine if the site your on is safe to use!
- Look for HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) before the URL. You can usually click the HTTPS, it will be highlighted green, and read about that site’s security.
- Search the page for up-to-date contact information. A site which is concerned with security issues and page issues will provide proper contact information in order to receive reports from visitors. Contact information can be in the form of an email address, phone number, facebook page, or online form.
- Scan for security badges which are typically located at the bottom of a page. If you click on the badges at the bottom of a page and it should bring you to a pop of of the correct certification and verification. If it brings you somewhere other than a verification page, beware. Security badges to look for include, Norton By Symantec, McAfee, and GeoTrust. On a website selling a product look for badges such as, Better Business Bureau and Paypal Certified.
3. Using Weak Passwords
Passwords should be unique, long, include numbers, and capital letters. Try to avoid using the same password for different accounts, this will help keep other accounts safe if one is hacked into. If possible use multi-factor login capabilities, using a security question, another numbered code. This will help add an extra layer to your account’s security.
4. Over-Sharing Personal Information
Having access to social media and being able to post anywhere at any time with mobile phones has led many students to overshare. Too often people get comfortable posting every second of every day updating the world on their activity. This is a dangerous habit to get into as it makes you susceptible to cyberstalking, Internet scams, and identity theft.
5. Rarely updating devices and security software
Keeping your device's software up to date is crucial. It can defend you from malware — short for malicious software — which includes viruses and spyware. Malware is often downloaded onto devices unknowingly and keeping your software up to date is a great way to combat this. Scammers use this malware to hunt for personal information.
Keep these tips in mind and put then to use and you will certainly lower your risk of issues associated with digital technology use. Come watch the webinar next week to learn more, including a look at the numerous ways that digital technology vendors are manipulating us and impacting our well being.