The Essentials to Staying Safe
Be Smart, Be Safe, But Don't be
Protect Your Privacy Online
Protect your personal
Protecting your personal information guards against identity
theft and guards against other misuse of your privacy rights.
- Always be cautious about giving your personal information,
your name, home address, phone number, social insurance number,
credit card, etc.
- Don't give personal information unless it is important for
you to receive what the web site is providing.
- Find out how your personal information will be used. Read the
privacy statements for the web site. Will your information be
shared with 3rd parties? Don't give personal information just
because it's asked for!
- Don't open email from unknown sources. Don't use a preview
pane to see email. Don't open an attachment unless you know what
is in it, no matter if you know the email address of who sent it.
Don't click on email or pop ups, don't enter personal information
in pop ups, or go to a link supplied by a pop up. Learn how to
use email filters. (See Email Safety
page for more details about email safety).
- If you are entering personal information into a site make
sure that is the legitimate web site of that organization. If you
are in doubt contact the organization to ask for their web site
address. Look to see if the location bar shows https:// in front
of the address (URL). Look to see if there is a locked lock or
unbroken key in the corner of your browser window. (See Web Site Safety page for more details
about web site safety).
Know who you are communicating with. Know who it is you
have transactions with.
- If you are on a banking or a financial web site, did you get
the address from a reliable source? Did the information about the
web site come in an email, If so contact your bank to confirm
what their web site address is. WARNING: Phishing is a form of identity
theft that makes you think you are on the web site of a
legitimate organization, but you aren't, and then asks for your
personal information possibly even including your account numbers
and passwords. (See Phishing information in the
Email Safety page).
- If you chat do not give out any personal information in a
chat room, anyone and everyone can see it. Would you normally
give your personal information to strangers? All chat room
dialogues are recorded and logged indefinitely. Do not put
personal information in your chat room profile.
- If you use Instant Messaging (IM) do not trust anyone unless
your know who they are. Do not put personal information in your
IM profile. Unknown people can add you to their "friend list" and
ask to be added to your friend list, but be deceptive in who they
really are. Do not share your personal information when chatting
- If you create a personal web site do not give out personal
information. Anyone in the world can look at your web site.
Use software to protect you and the information on your
The basic essentials that you will need are a reputable
anti-virus software, reputable firewall, reputable anti-spyware
or anti-malware. (See External
Resources - Essential Free Software for some suggested
- Set up an anti-virus program before you start using email and
before you go online.
- Set up a firewall before you go online, especially if you are
connected by cable, wireless, or dial up modems. Firewalls stop
crackers from accessing your computer.
- Use reputable anti-spyware, anti-malware that will locate and
allow you to delete spyware on your computer. AdAware has a good
reputation but some programs claiming to be anti-spyware actually
do the opposite and set spyware on your computer.
- To decide what software is reputable you may have to look at
security software reviews or talk to a computer professional who
will give you their recommendations. The Essential Free Software suggested
by this site, on the External Resources page has a good
reputation in the online tech. community at the time that this
web site was created. New threats are always occurring, and new
software to counteract those threats are always being created.
The software suggested above has been in existence for awhile and
tries to keep up to date on new threats.
Set up your operating system and web browser so it is
protected and protects your information. (See Web Site
Safety - Browser Settings page)
- Make sure you update your operating system regularly.
Microsoft is known for vulnerability "holes" that crackers
exploit to access your computer -- Microsoft regularly provides
"patches" and updates for these vulnerabilities. Linux systems
and Mac computers have similar updates.
- Make sure your browser Internet or privacy settings are
adequate. Set your cookies to only accept session cookies, and to
not accept 3rd party cookies. (See Web Site Safety - Browser Settings page). Clearing Cache and
Cookies does get rid of 3rd party cookies, but not accepting them
to begin with is a better option.
Use passwords and or usernames that won't be guessed or
easily located. Change passwords frequently.
- Use generic usernames, not something that would identify your
name or your gender.
- Use passwords that are a combination of letters and numbers
and that are NOT important dates or pet names.
- Don't save passwords on the computer; write them down or
- Don't use the option offered by some web sites to remember
usernames or passwords.
- Change passwords frequently.
- Don't share passwords with anyone.
important sensitive documents and information on to a floppy or
burn on to a CD or DVD. Erase important information from the
computer once it is saved somewhere else, so a cracker can't
access your information.
Anything on a computer is potentially accessible by a 3rd
party, more so if it is on a computer that is frequently
- Keep sensitive information stored offline, or on a computer
that is not connected to the internet.Tip: Addresses and address book files can be
stored on a floppy and then deleted from the computer, when
needed they can be "imported" back into the email program.
- Put sensitive information on to a floppy, a CD, or a DVD and
keep it in a secure place.
- Once it is stored somewhere else, erase sensitive information
from the hard drive of any computers that are connected to the
- Manage / Delete Cache, Cookies, Temporary Internet Files,
History, Location Bar regularly ( See Web Site Safety - Browser Settings page for more detail).