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June 24, 2009 > Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet

Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet

By Jim Dearman, University of Phoenix

The internet has become a great resource for keeping in touch with friends, job searching, reading the latest news, and so much more. Tools such as blogs, videos, and social networking sites are all designed to connect you with other users; thus why it is important to learn how to protect yourself while online. In light of Internet Safety month, University of Phoenix instructor and IT expert, Jim Dearman, offers the following internet safety tips:

1) Be skeptical of all unsolicited emails - never supply your username, password, account number or any other personal information via email.

2) Protect your accounts - Choosing hard-to-guess passwords and changing them consistently can help prevent criminals from hacking into your accounts.

3) Take advantage of the Online Protection Tools - Many internet service providers provide parent-control options to block certain websites from coming up on a computer.

4) Get involved in your family's online activity - In addition to blocking sites, keep your computer in a common place in the house and check the sites that have been used often.

5) Don't use the link received in an unsolicited email. Type the website address into the address bar to avoid being sent to a fake website, created for the sole purpose of phishing (i.e. acquiring your account information). Your bank and credit card companies don't need you to log in and re-enter all your information.

6) When you provide any personal information at a website make sure encryption is ON. Look for https: in the address bar or the lock/key on your browser. If it isn't ON, your information is sent in clear text and can be read by anyone that captures the web communication.

7) Always read a web site's privacy policy - Before giving any personal information make sure that they offer a secure connection.

8) Be smart and safe about people you meet online - People misrepresent themselves online, so be careful when sharing your personal information.

9) Protect your computer - install three inexpensive software programs: antivirus, anti-spyware, and a firewall.

10) THINK before you CLICK.

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