Internet Safety Tips | Atlantic Training Safety Tips

Preserve Your System

Beware adware, spyware, and viruses. Just like a mugger or murderer could wait around any corner, spyware and viruses are lurking in the shadows of the digital world. These can mess up your system, slow computer performance, and steal any personal passwords and information you use and keep on the computer or on the web.

Install trustworthy protection software, and keep yourself protected with updated versions. This is an excellent internet safety tip because internet security software is normally 'set it and forget it', passively protecting you from malicious software and hackers.

Use a firewall to prevent hackers from attacking your computer remotely.

Never open unscreened email from contact that you don’t know; if in doubt, trash it.

Block pop-ups.

Download free software only from a reputable and trustworthy company.

Use encryption to protect your personal information, and when logging into your computer.

Log off from all websites and shut down your computer when not in use.

Log off from all websites and delete history, downloads, and cookies after using a public computer.

Protect your home/work wireless network with encryption (hide your network name and use WPA2).

  • Frequently change your encryption password.

Safely Navigating the World of Social Networking

Taste your words before you spit—or write—them out. Apart from the typical misunderstanding that’s so much easier to fall for online (without the aid of body language and real-time, real-life responses), something you say could be used against you; you might even be accused of slander or defamation.

Don’t disclose personal information; neither your own, nor that of someone else. If you're an employer, consider investing on a social media HR training for your HR Staff.

Don’t forward another individual’s email without permission. Chain mail is a real treat for online hackers and spammers.

Never post anything that would shame or embarrass you or others; be wary of what others post about you, including photographs that can be duplicated and used against you.

Posted information is public information. You may want to rethink those “public” settings. Even if you think your settings are “private”, plenty of people can gain access—including enforcement authorities, the website managers, and experienced hackers and digital criminals.

  • If you wouldn’t want it to go public, don’t post it.

Close unused account. Policies for doing this vary according to website; if the person whose account is in question is deceased or unable to close the account, survivors or caretakers should contact the website company directly.

Cyberstalking: When It Gets Personal and Digital

Commonindications of online harassment include:

  • Threats via email, posts, and any form of online messaging and communication.
  • Any public online publication of vicious posts that expose or attack you.
  • Attempts to defame or slander your reputation by posing as you online.
  • Harassment of friends, family, and colleagues in order to frighten or isolate a person, family, or organization.

Search for yourself online, using your name, username, phone number, or any other personal information. Is there anything out there that’s too revealing? Worse, is there anything out there that you haven’t created yourself?

If you’ve recently broken up with a spouse or significant other, ensure that you change each and every password that they do (or might) know about—particularly if the person or break-up was difficult, abusive, angry, or otherwise troublesome.

  • Change your passwords to something that person wouldn’t be able to guess.

Have your computer inspected by a professional if you believe that you may be targeted. They need to check for spyware and other viruses, too.

Check your credit report status regularly, particularly if you’re in the public eye (as a businessperson, professional, celebrity, etc.).

Ignore annoying but non-threatening messages. Sometimes a stalker just wants some attention; when you refuse to give the attention, the person will choose an easier target.

Avoid responding to any suggestive messages or comments, even if it seems fun, tempting, or harmless.

Do you believe you have a cyberstalker? Then trust your gut about that. It’s better to be wrong than to be… in a very bad position. Consider the following internet safety tips:

  • Record and report each incident.
  • Change your screen-name.
  • Consider closing your account altogether.
  • Don’t panic; reach out for support from people whom you trust.
  • The faster you block that person’s ability to hurt or harass you, the sooner he or she will leave you alone.
  • If you’re worried about your safety and well-being, don’t hesitate to contact police and law enforcement authorities.
Did You Know?
Parents are On High AlertMore than 90% of parents and guardians were very or extremely concerned about their children being exposed to sexually explicit content on the internet.(1) Pre-Teen Internet Usage is Skyrocketing83% of 10-14-year-olds surveyed went online for an hour or more every day.(1) Block Abusive Messages To Stop CyberbullyingAbout 71 percent of teens think that blocking abusive messages is the most effective way to prevent cyberbullying, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.(1)
Action Items
  • Keep your computer as secure as possible with anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software.
  • Never disclose personal information or passwords online if you’re not on the respective trusted, legitimate, and reputable website.
  • Never disclose information to strangers or in chat rooms; avoid meeting up with people you’ve met online (or do so only in popular public places, with personal back up).
  • Routinely change your passwords, and never store these on your computer or on the internet.
  • Periodically check your credit reports, online status, and personal search results.
  • Keep an extra eye out for your child’s internet interactions and online safety.

Sexual Predators on the prowl.

Always be alert. Dating websites have received a slightly bad rep as a haven for sexual predators, but the truth is that potential predators could be anywhere and everywhere.

You’re a potential target. Sexual predators usually target females or children, but your gender, age, ethnicity, or any other characteristic won’t render you invincible or unsusceptible. There are a lot of weirdoes out there with eclectic tastes.

Never trust a stranger on the internet. It’s the easiest thing to lie behind the anonymity of a computer screen, and people often misrepresent themselves online.

Never entrust others with personal information.

If you do decide to meet up with someone you’ve met online, always meet in the daytime, at a public place, and with the knowledge and checking in (and, if possible, protection) of a family member or trusted friend.

  • If the person refuses the above terms, refuse to meet with him or her.
  • Always speak via phone before meeting; your ears may pick up on something suspicious long before your eyes do.
  • Verify the information that you learn about the person.
  • Arrive separately and never leave with the individual; if you suspect a stalker, head immediately to the closest police station or public location.

Your Identity at Risk

Fraud. What was once achieved by phone or air-mail is now much easily and globally attempted through the internet. Know how to spot common yet dangerous scams:

  • Online auctions or marketing sites "selling" merchandise that is deceptively represented or even fictional.
  • Unrealistic or phony promises (paying large sums of cash) in exchange for personal information (bank account numbers, to "help" with your transfers; "assistance" with obtaining personal loans, etc.).
  • Fake sweepstakes or contests asking for an upfront fee.

Identity Theft. Identity thieves thrive by stealing your financial information, and thereby draining your credit or bank account. The most dangerous amongst them might even pose as you, having overtaken your personal information and private resources.

  • Identity thieves love to go phishing. They’ll create phony emails or websites which are supposedly from a familiar, legitimate company, just to trick you into revealing and confirming personal information.
  • Two of the most targeted such sites are Paypal and Ebay.

Protect Passwords and Personal Information

To guard against fraud, identity theft, malicious software, and online predators, never give out your personal information and never type passwords or usernames on unsecure pages or unsecure networks.

  • Create long and difficult passwords using letters, numbers, symbols, and an upper- and lower-case variation.
  • Never use number or letter sequences or predictable patterns.
  • Change your passwords every 2-3 months.
  • Never reuse passwords.
  • Never mirror your username with your password.
  • Never store your password online or on a mobile device.
  • Avoid using personal information (name, age, SSN, address) in your username and especially in your password.

When communicating with a stranger (someone you don’t know and don’t trust) or chatting, never disclose your full name, password, contact information (phone number, email, or address), or any personal or financial or familial information.

Children: An Easy Target

Learn and share. You yourself must know the dangers—and the means of protection—before you can adequately teach them to your child.

Ensure that children know never to identify themselves online, never giving away personal information or passwords.

Limit and screen your child’s browsing access. Just as you’d fence in your yard to protect your child from straying, just so need you fence in the safe perimeters of cyberspace. Family safety software is effective and smart, allowing remote monitoring, keystroke recognition, time management, and more.

Know the language of children and criminals. Children and teenagers have developed a private texting and digital language that, unfortunately, internet predators are privy too. You should be too. Look up acronyms like F2F, PANB, WUF, NIFOC, and A/S/L (and many more) so you know what your kids might be saying and sharing online.

Strategize in case something happens.

  • If your child comes across porn, they should know to just shut down the computer (and not click on anything that could expose them to further porn or a virus).
  • If your child experiences cyber-bullying or any type of threat, they should refrain from responding and report it to a trusted adult immediately.

As always, be approachable and keep the communication lines open. Trust is priceless, and often saves lives. If something wrong is going on, you need to be the first to know to ensure your child’s well-being.