Digital Safety and Privacy

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1 Digital Safety and Privacy Class Description: As computers and the Internet become more and more the way we communicate, we need to be aware of potential threats to our security online. This class discusses easy safe tips for protecting your identity, privacy, and security online. Class Length: 2 hours Objectives: Class Schedule Learn how to create safe passwords. Learn tips on how to browse safely. Learn tips on detecting scams. Learn tips for using social network sites. Password Safety o Weak vs. strong passwords Protecting Your Computer o Antivirus Software o Anti-spyware o Firewall Tips for Being Junk Mail Free o Spam o Scams o Attachments Smart Social Networking Tips o Privacy o Cybercrime o Netiquette

2 Internet Safety Internet safety is an important topic today as we become more and more connected to the Internet. People communicate with other people, play games, bank, pay bills, and more through the Internet. It is important to learn how to protect your information from identity theft, privacy violations and even harassment. Internet safety is not rocket science. There are many basic and easy steps that you can take to adopt a safer mindset and strategy towards using the Internet. Think of the Internet like shopping at a store. It isn t a dangerous place. You meet people, run errands, and explore hobbies there, but you are still careful to protect your wallet, social security number, and private information. You don t leave your car unlocked, leave your purse unattended, or give your social security number out to strangers. Just like in a store, we don t need to be afraid, but do need to take practical steps to ensuring our security. Password Safety Passwords are an easy place to start in good Internet security. It is often easiest to use passwords that are easy to remember or use the same password for every account. This practice may be simple, but it also makes you susceptible to being hacked by someone with password-cracking software. You can make strong passwords to reduce your risk of being hacked. Weak Passwords 1. Using a loved one s name, a hobby, or a simple pattern. 2. Using the same password for all your accounts. *If a hacker gets into one, he/she can easily get into them all.* Strong Passwords 1. Never use personal information. 2. Use a longer password (at least 6 characters long). 3. If you have to write down your passwords, keep them in a secure place or encrypt them. 4. Don t use the same password for each account. 5. Include numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters. 6. Avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary. 7. Random passwords are the strongest.

3 Protecting Your Computer Antivirus software is the best defense against internet threats to your computer such as viruses. This software can protect you from viruses in attachments, corrupted websites, internet worms, spyware and more. Definitions Antivirus Software Antivirus: protects against viruses Anti-spyware: protects against malicious software that may be gathering your information Firewall: screens out threats that try to reach your computer from the Internet Antivirus software is available as free or paid premium software. Free antivirus programs can offer an adequate amount of protection, but they are often lesser versions of full scale paid software. With free antivirus software, you often will not receive technical support and they are limited in their functionality. Paid antivirus software has a yearly subscription which means that there is a yearly fee that is paid in order to renew your subscription. Choosing Antivirus Software 1. Research reviews online. Reputable sites such as CNET or TopTenReviews have independent, unbiased reviews. 2. Check the features for the antivirus software. Check for the following features: a. Real-time protection: always on a monitoring your computer b. On-demand scanner: user initiates this scan to find malicious programs c. Auto-updater: the software automatically updates d. Heuristics analysis: detects new viruses 3. Determine how easy it is to set up the product and use. 4. See if technical support is available. Tips for Being Junk Free Junk or spam is unwanted advertisements that may contain scams or malware that are harmful to computers.

4 Spam Tips 1. Use a Spam Blocker. Google, Yahoo and other online providers have built-in spam blockers. 2. Don t reply to Spam. When you reply to a Spam, it confirms that your address works and will possibly result in receiving more spam. 3. Turn off images. s can contain images that spammers can track. If you have the images turned off in your s so that they do not load, it can protect from spam. 4. Turn off your preview pane. Once you view an in your preview pane, it may lead to receiving more spam. 5. Regularly check your spam folder. Spam blockers or junk mail folders can block legitimate s, so you want to make sure you are receiving s that you should be read. Scams scams are another way that scammers try to get information or money from you. These scams are often too good to be true and offer you money, work at home, health products and more. You can protect yourself from these s by checking the address the was sent from, never following links even if the looks official, and double checking with banks, credit card companies etc. on the phone prior to giving information via . If anything looks unusual or not quite right, make the call. Attachments attachments are another part of an that can contain viruses. When you open an attachment with a virus, it is automatically installed on your computer. You can protect yourself from attachments with viruses by: 1. Don t open attachments you were not expecting or attachments from someone you do not know. Mass s or forwards are one way that viruses are spread. Be careful of forwarding s that you receive to other people if it has an attachment. Also, be wary of opening mass s even from people you know. 2. Keep your antivirus software updated. It might be able to catch the virus if it is installed before it does damage to your computer. 3. Keep your computer s firewall on.

5 Safe Social Networking Privacy Sharing on the web is completely different than it was 5 or 10 years ago. Social networking sites have allowed people to connect, communicate, and share in ways that were never available before. Privacy is a large issue today because the information you share or use on the Internet can be available to people who may use it for illegal purposes. It is important to be aware of how to protect yourself online and realize that everything that is shared online is very difficult to remove. Legal issues Social networking is not separate or immune to the law. What you post or share could be used against you in court if your behavior is illegal. For example, if a teenager posts a picture on Facebook of himself/herself using drugs or alcohol illegally, it can be used against them. Also, libel cases have been brought to court based on posts, tweets, or blogs. What you share online is documentation, so be aware of how you behave or communicate online. Cybercrime Social networks allow you and even encourage you to share a variety of personal information openly. This information may include your birthday, address, place of work, education, and even your location. Criminals can use this information to steal your identity or find an opportunity to break into your house when you are away. It is best to be careful when sharing your location online or personal information that could be used to take advantage of you. Geotagging or geolocation is available on a number of different social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. Geolocation features share your current location and can be used by criminals to learn your habits. You are able to turn off these features to protect yourself if you are uncomfortable with sharing this information with others. Privacy Settings When you set up a new account on a social network, it is important to be aware of the site s privacy policy. Look into where the privacy settings are available in the network and learn what can be modified and changed to meet your needs. Social networks have uses and are excellent ways to communicate with a large group of people. By being aware of how to protect yourself and your family, you can learn to use social networks in a way that protects your privacy while still enjoying the advantages of the site. When you set up your profile on a new networking site, think about the information that you want to share or do not want to share. You always have a choice concerning what screen name you choose, what picture you post, and what information you include in your profile. Netiquette: Communicating effectively on the Internet

6 1. Be respectful. Even though the Internet may seem like it is anonymous, it is often now. Always treat people like you would if you were speaking directly to them. 2. Don t be too quick to take offense. Communication online can be very tricky. We cannot see facial expressions or hear a person s tone of voice. It is very easy to misinterpret a message. Clarify with the sender before taking offense. 3. Use emoticons and abbreviations to convey meaning. You can convey your tone or emotions through using emoticons such as or. This conveys to the reader to tone or feeling of your message. You can also use abbreviations such as lol (laugh out loud) or jk (just kidding) to communicate your tone. 4. Protect the privacy of others. Keep in mind that other people s privacy is just as important as yours. Be careful of what information you share online about other people. Always think before you share! Works Cited: GCFLearnFree.org (2013). Internet Safety. Available online at:

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