As the Internet becomes an increasingly integral part of daily life, questions about privacy and security on the Internet are on the rise. Keeping your personal information, private data and finances safe can be difficult, but by following a few tips, you can avoid the vast majority of scams, spyware and privacy breaches.
You have probably heard of someone’s computer being hacked, his or her identity being stolen online, or even having some embarrassing pictures posted online.
Know the scams" Read articles and blogs, follow the news, and share this so you can learn about different kinds of scams and what you can do to avoid them and also help your friends.
Think before you click" Never click on links in messages from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information or download malware to your computer. You should even be wary with emails from people you do know if it looks or sounds suspicious. Hackers can create a malicious email that looks like it came from your best friend’s email account.
Safely peruse" Beware of phony websites. These sites may have an address that’s very similar to a legitimate site, but the page can have misspellings, bad grammar or low resolution images. However, scammers are getting better at replicating sites so make sure. If a site asks for personal information, that you double check the URL and make sure it’s not asking for information it shouldn't.
Shop safely" Don’t shop on a site unless it has the “https” and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL. Also, protect yourself and use a credit card instead of a debit card while shopping online—a credit card company is more likely to reimburse you for fraudulent charges.
Strong passwords" Do away with the “Fitguy1982” password and use an extremely uncrackable one like 9&4yiw2pyqx#. Phrases are good too. Regularly change passwords and don’t use the same passwords for critical accounts. For more tips on how to create strong passwords, go to http://passwordday.org/
Protect your info" Keep your guard up. Back up all of your data on your computer, smartphone and tablet in the event of loss, theft or a crash. Also, routinely check your various financial statements for questionable activity.
Secure Wi-Fi connectivity" Protect your network by changing your router’s default settings and making sure you have the connection password-protected. For more information on how to protect your Wi-Fi connection, click here.
Install a firewall" A firewall is a great line of defense against cyber-attacks. Although most operating systems come with a firewall, you might want to consider installing McAfee LiveSafe™ service which has a much better firewall than the one that comes built into your operating system.
Keep up to date" The best security software updates automatically to protect your computer. Use the manufacturer’s latest security patches to make regular updates and make sure that you have the software set to do routine scans
"More Tips to Stay Safe Online"
Keep Your Online Identity Secret"
Don’t tell anyone your real name and address or what neighborhood you live in. Here’s the general rule: Don’t give out any information that a predator could possibly use to find you. The Federal Trade Commission says that even “small clues” like what school you attend or the name of your athletic team is enough for a predator to figure out your identity. You wouldn’t tell some 40-year-old man or woman you met at the mall your name and where you live, would you? So why would you tell CoolGuy985 or HotChick16 from the chat room?
Your Username and Secured Password Belong to You
Don’t give your username or password to anyone. It's just that simple. What if a friend logs on and pretends to be you, and then says something really awful and gets you in trouble? Sure, it might seem funny to the “former” friend, but it’s serious and it happens everyday. With your username and password, someone can post language that gets you expelled from school, in trouble with your parents, or even in trouble with the law. Keep your name and password private.
The Internet has a Great Memory … So Keep Its Memory of You Clean
Just because the Internet is so massive does not mean that embarrassing or risqué pictures, rude or mean comments, or illegal activities will disappear forever. Watch what you post about yourself or others -- or allow your friends to post about you -- because you may have to live with it for a long, long time.
Be Good Online … Just Like You Are Offline
Writing “hate” emails, hacking into other people’s computers, illegally downloading music or movies and making online threats are just as illegal on the Internet as they are in the real world. You cannot hide behind a screen name and get away with it. Watch what you write -- because someone else is watching what you write!
Be Extremely Careful about Meeting Someone in Person
The Online Security agency gives an all-out blanket warning: “Never meet anyone in person that you meet online.” That said, many teens do make good friends online. You just have to be super-cautious and make sure other people you know and trust also know this “new” online person.
If you do decide to meet the new person, bring your parents with you. All of you meet together in a public area like a mall where there are tons of people around. Ask that the person’s parents come, too. If the situation feels creepy, it probably is creepy! Just like in the real world, trust your gut instincts -- and walk away.
Your Parents Are Ultimately Responsible for Minors Online
Even if your parents don’t know much about the Internet, tell them what types of web sites you go to. They will probably be interested and impressed with your Internet skills. They may also help you avoid potential problems if a web site or new "friend" looks sketchy.