The Internet is an indispensable tool that citizens, corporations and governments all over the world have come to rely on. There are tremendous benefits to the World Wide Web including: having the information highway at your fingertips, being able to find and purchase products and services from anywhere, working from home, connecting with distant friends and family and saving time by conducting various transactions right from your couch.
The problem of course, is that all these conveniences have led to gaping security holes that allow criminals from all over the world to compromise your computer and various accounts which of course leads to identity theft and financial loss. Even scarier is when criminal predators use the Internet to exploit children in various ways.
What this means is that all of us need to increase our security intelligence by understanding what to look out for and what systems need to be put in place so we can reap the benefits of the Internet safely and securely.
Since June is Internet Safety Month, it’s a good time to review essentials that all of us should be aware of every day.
Protect your personal information. Don’t give out personal data unless it is a trusted source requesting it and a secure site accepting it.
Look for httpS in the address bar when you are shopping online or on a site where you are entering personal information.
Update your browser with the latest version and use the highest security settings.
Update all your devices’ operating systems whenever a new version or critical security patch is available.
Beware of requests coming in via email asking you to update personal information. It’s best to go directly to sites instead of clicking on links in emails, or text messages.
Teach your children the “rules of the road” for the Internet and make sure they understand what is and isn’t acceptable online.
Think before you post online. It’s always good to use this rule of thumb—everything you post online is public and available forever—even if you use the highest security and privacy settings.
Keep your devices updated with the latest version of antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-phishing and make sure to have a 2-way firewall.
And remember, if something sounds too good to be true—it usually is, so don’t fall for the scam.
We can all do our part to stay safe and be better digital citizens by staying educated on the latest threats and scams.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee.