Seaside Safety Tips…
The World Wide Web can be a great place to do business, to interact socially with others, to find endless resources of information, and to entertain us at the end of a long day. However, the Internet can also be a place where our computers and devices can be harmed by malicious viruses, and unsuspecting individuals can fall victim to cyber crimes.
As an Internet service provider, Seaside Communications cares about Internet safety. Especially now during the pandemic, people are spending more time online, and scammers and cyber criminals know this and they’re ramping up their game. We want your experience online to be a rich and enjoyable one. We’ve taken the time to outline some common Internet safety practices, and while some of these may seem like common sense, others are things you may not have stopped to consider.
Exercise Caution on Social Networking Websites.
Although Social media has many benefits, there are some important things to watch out for.
- Be careful what you post. For instance, announcing that you are about to leave on an exciting week-long vacation potentially alerts thieves of your home’s vacancy.
- Be carefully who you meet on Social Media sites. Individuals can easily conceal their true identities by stealing someone else’s picture and using false information.
- There’s more than just personal information theft at stake. Opening files, pictures, or texts from people you don’t know or trust are common ways in which viruses are spread.
- Be aware that listing your favourite music or hobbies makes you a target for potentially unwanted advertisers.
- Consider a private Social Media account viewable to trusted friends only, as opposed to a public account open to everyone. This is especially important for children and minors.
Exercise extreme caution before downloading files
Be careful when downloading anything to your computer from email attachments or websites.
- An email that appears to be from a friend may actually be from an attacker using your friend’s name, social media account, and/or email address. Consider contacting the friend for verification before downloading their attachment.
- Be cautious of downloading program files, videos, or music files from websites you are not familiar with or do not trust. A reputable site often uses a security certificate.
- Avoid emails with suspicious offers or promises. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is (i.e. it’s likely an online scam).
Use caution whenever shopping online
When shopping online, use only reputable and trusted sites and be sure that the site you’re on is using security.
- A secured site will have a URL that starts with https:// and an icon of a locked padlock located within the browser frame. If it doesn’t, DO NOT enter your credit card information.
- Bookmark reliable online shopping sites such as amazon.com. Always make sure that the correct URL appears in the address bar (beware of phishing sites posing as reputable websites).
Make sure your passwords remain your own
When creating a password for social media sites, email addresses, online banking accounts, etc., always take time to create passwords that will be difficult for attackers to solve.
- Create “strong” passwords by making passwords that use combinations of alphanumeric characters, symbols, and UPPER & lower case.
- Your password should be a minimum of eight characters in length.
- It’s tempting to use the same password over and over because it’s easier to remember just one - but if that one password becomes compromised then your attacker potentially has access to each of your accounts. For your own safety, you should always use a different password for each account.
- If you need to write down your password, don’t make it obvious (e.g. don’t write things like “This is a password for…”, or don’t keep it stored in the same location as other information related to the account).
- Never share your password with anyone – ever!
- For more on creating secure email passwords, click here
Install and run the latest antivirus software
Install antivirus software, and be sure to install all updates regularly as they often include improvements to security.
- Over time, new threats can surface online that can find their way past antivirus programs. Keeping your antivirus up-to-date will help safeguard you against all the latest threats, as developers of the software strive to stay on top of all the latest known issues.
- Keep all software and system patches up-to-date.
Use caution any time you are relying on public Wi-fi
Public Wi-fi is a great service offered by many restaurants, coffee shops, etc., but it often does not require a password to access the network. As such, caution must be used when enjoying this convenient public service.
- Attackers can log into the network and access your phone or laptop since everyone is sharing the same network. It’s a good idea to make sure privacy settings are set to private.
- Similarly, if you have a wireless router at home, be sure to enable password protection on your Wi-fi service as anyone nearby can access your personal home network.
Beware of Phishing scams
Phishing is a form of fraud whereby the victim inadvertently provides personal details to an attacker posing as a trustworthy source. The attacker often uses a fraudulent web interface to collect details such as your username, password, or credit card information. Here are some basic safeguards to protect yourself against a phishing scam:
- Never reply to suspicious emails or texts with your personal or financial information, including passwords or credit card numbers.
- Similarly, never trust an online form that has been linked from suspicious emails or texts.
- Always follow a trusted bookmark before entering your information into a site (never follow a link from another site).
- Never sign in to your account until you’ve checked the URL in your web browser to ensure it is the legitimate website you’re trying to access.
- Keep your browsers current and up-to-date with the latest versions.
- Heed warnings from browsers that initially block you from websites suspected of phishing behaviour.
- Be sure to report any suspicious emails or phishing websites to Seaside Communications.
Educate youth about cyberbullying, and what to do if it is happening
Children and teens who have email addresses, social media accounts, etc., should be taught and encouraged to report anything they feel is a form of cyberbullying. This is an important child safety issue as well as an online safety precaution. Cyberbullies should be immediately reported to system administrators, and if need be, your local law enforcement. Proper education can help keep your child safe online, and it may even save their life!
Reference Material for your home, school or office
Please click on the graphic below for an additional sheet of important information that can be printed and kept near your computer or laptop for reference.