Friday, June 27, 2008

ON-LINE SAFETY MONTH

We almost let June slip right by without mentioning that it's "On-line Safety Month." Before I start talking about how to protect yourself from some of the insanely crazy and sometimes dangerous situations that can come with being on-line, this might be a good time to take a quick sec to hug your laptop, dust off your PC, get a new pretty case for your black berry and send a big thank you out into the universe for the cyber geniuses who have given us the glorious gift of the world wide web! So many of us rely on our computers for, well, almost everything! (Except for my dear ol' Dad of course, he refuses to come into the 21st century of technology.) Gone are the days of paper calendars, phone books, at home Encyclopedia collections, and endless envelopes of photo negatives. We depend on e-mails, blogs, family web-sites, outlook calendars and of course facebook and myspace to keep up with our peeps. After just a few short years it's hard to imagine life without social networking sites. I feel an uncontrollable tangent about the importance of face-to-face communication and good old fashioned hand written letters coming on, so I better save that for later and get to the point of this blog, which is ON-LINE SAFETY my friends.
Below are some helpful basics of on-line safety courtesy of http://www.staysafeonline.org/
Before I sign off, I'm going to throw my most basic and important rule out there...If it's something you would not say, do or share with a stranger, then think twice before you post it anywhere on-line, even private pages, because once it's on-line it's out there forever! (I'm still not sure about where "out there" actually is...we will most definitely need a guest blogger for that topic.)

Safe and happy posting cyber homies,
Kelly

P.S. Becca and I are both I-Safe Certified so if you have questions or want more details about how to stay safe on line you can hit us up at info@kellyandbecca.com

BASIC ONLINE SAFETY TIPS
1. Guard your financial and other sensitive information. Never provide or post your Social Security number, address, phone number, bank account or credit card numbers, or other personal information that could be used by criminals.

2. Picture social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace. Police, college admissions personnel, employers, stalkers, con artists, nosy neighbors – anyone can see what you post. Don’t disclose anything about yourself, your friends, or family members that you wouldn’t want to be made public. And remember that once information appears on a Web site, it can never be completely erased. Even if it’s modified or deleted, older versions may exist on others’ computers. Some social networking sites allow users to restrict access to certain people. Understand how the site works and what privacy choices you may have.

3. Be cautious about meeting your new cyber friends in person. After all, it’s hard to judge people by photos or information they post about themselves. If you decide to meet someone in person, do so during the day in a public place, and ask for information that you can verify, such as the person’s place of employment.

4. Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails. They may contain viruses or spyware that could damage your computer or steal your personal information – including your online passwords and account numbers. Some messages may “spoof,” or copy the email addresses of friends to fool you into thinking that they’re from them. Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers, and if you get an unexpected message from someone whose address you recognize, check with them directly before clicking on links or attachments.

5. Protect your computer. A spam filter can help reduce the number of unwanted emails you get. Anti-virus software, which scans incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software, which looks for programs that have been installed on your computer and track your online activities without your knowledge, can protect you from online identity theft. Firewalls prevent hackers and unauthorized communications from entering your computer – which is especially important if you have a broadband connection because your computer is open to the Internet whenever it’s turned on. Look for programs that offer automatic updates and take advantage of free patches that manufacturers offer to fix newly discovered problems. Go to http://www.staysafeonline.org/ or http://www.onguardonline.gov/ to learn more about how to keep your computer secure.

6. Beware of con artists. Criminals scan social networking sites to find potential victims for all sorts of scams, from phony lotteries to bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud. In some cases they falsely befriend people and then ask for money for medical expenses or other emergencies, or to come to the United States from another country. Go to http://www.fraud.org/ to learn more about how to recognize different types of Internet fraud.

1 comment:

Glen Dunsbergen said...

On-line safety is very important. You are giving out very timely and important information. My 411 is that I'm a former director and investigator for a nationally recognised Domestic Violence program. Keep it up!