The Internet can be a very educational and exciting place to visit. You can play almost any type of game you want, watch any Television Show or Movie out there, do research on any topic you can dream up … but at the same time it can also be your worst nightmere if you are not careful. If you take the time and be careful and follow a few simple steps, you shouldn’t really have anything to worry about. There is no fool proof method or trick to stay safe online, but common sense goes a long way to helping you stay safe.
- Use a strong and unique password for every website. Don’t reuse the same password on different sites. This might mean you will have to install and use a password manager. Don’t create a file on your computer named Passwords or something like that and store your passwords in it. If you have to write down your passwords, do it in a book which you keep hidden and away from your computer.
- Never click on links in emails or texts that seem to come from a bank, CRA or any other institution. If you think the message might be valid, log into your account directly, without following the supplied link. Almost all banks and levels of Government don’t email you with questions.
- Keep all software up to date with the latest patches and upgrades.
- When installing apps on your PC (or even your smartphone), pay special attention to what the permissions each app is requesting. Some apps want full access to everything on your PC or Smartphone. A basic card game on your phone or PC, shouldn’t need access to your camera and everything on your phone. Sometimes these apps are written in a way that opens up your device to whoever wants access to your information.
- Try to use 2 Factor Authentication for apps and websites. This isn’t always available, but when it is, use it. It makes it harder for thieves to steal your accounts and data contained within it.
- Install an antivirus with malware software. The best ones are the ones you pay for, but if you don’t want to pay, grab some of the free ones out there. At least it is some protection. Microsoft Windows 10 has a really good one built one called Windows Defender and it is free.
- Online or Email scams are no longer identifiable by poor grammar and spelling mistakes. If you ever see an ad offering something to good to be true, it probably is. The best question to ask yourself is, would I ever get an offer like this walking down the street? The most recent one is somebody asking for money/information and the use an email address that almost looks like one from your contact list but 2 letters might be switched around and you get scammed (email@example.com and they use firstname.lastname@example.org). Verify email addresses before you respond or better yet call the person.
- Keep your system completely backed up to the point if the system is gone, you are able to recreate it from your backups. Keep your backups in a different location than the PC is located in. The best location is off site and secured (ask a friend to hold onto your external drive with a password on it).
- Keep your social media secure and private. Criminals will search them for hints to your passwords and your schedule to give them the time they need to hack/steel what they want. A great example of this is on Facebook, you will see a question or game like “Who was your Favorite Teacher in School” or “Name your first job”. These are security questions that some companies use and now you just gave a possible answer to somebody trying to gain access to your information.
- If you have children at home, make sure they are supervised when browsing the web. One of the biggest security issues are children that download games because they have their favorite character or cartoon in them, but they are designed that way to give people remote access to your system.
The biggest thing is to think about what you are doing. Is the source trustworthy? Do I know the source? Is the email sender someone I know and does the contents of the email look like something they normally send me? Trust your instincts because usually they are right. Or if you aren’t sure about something, leave it on the net and leave the site.
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