How to Stay Safe Online: Be Web Wise!

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Phishing scams are nothing new and they aren't going to go away any time soon simply because too many people click before they think. The Internet might appear to be a nice, comfortable, safe place to spend a few hours, but even cyber space has criminals lurking in its corners masquerading as friends or pretending to offer legitimate information when in reality, all these criminals want to do is invade personal online space with spam, spyware, or insidious malware. No matter what you call it --clickjacking, spoofing, tab napping, phishing, pharming, smishing, vishing, or skimming, criminal use of technology has the ability to disrupt your life in more ways than one from simple irritation to total disruption to identity theft.

The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility. It's never a bad time to remind everyone who uses Twitter, Facebook,peer-to-peer file sharing sites, or any other social networking sites that it matters what you put out there, what you agree to reveal about yourself, and how much you really should "share." Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

Practice good online safety habits with the below tips and advice offered by the National Cyber Security Alliance and  Stay Safe Online
Keep A Clean Machine.
Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that's an available option.
Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
Plug & scan: "USBs" and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them. 

Protect Your Personal Information.
Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that's stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It's ok to limit who you share information with.
Connect With Care.
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.
Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.
Be Web Wise.
Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a Good Online Citizen.
Safer for me more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone - at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
Post only about others as you have them post about you.
STOP: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family's.

CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
Protect yourself and help keep the web a safer place for everyone.

Help the authorities fight cyber crime:

Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.



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