You constantly upload info to the web—whether you’re logging on to a school account, signing in to your favorite website or uploading new photos to Facebook. This is the new age of the Internet, not only a dynamic repository of information and a huge cyber-mall, but also a center for communication and an extension of your personality.
The personal info you upload is extremely valuable to scammers and hackers. Once they have it, they hold the keys to your life without your even knowing it.
The National Cyber Security Alliance recently announced a campaign to educate the public on Internet security. Called “Stop. Think. Connect.,” the campaign is aimed at making security second nature to web users, so you won’t be vulnerable to scammers trolling to collect your personal data.
To get started on making security part of your web routine, here are some common mistakes people make online and how to correct them:
- Using the same password — If a hacker happens to acquire your password, they’ll have access to every site where you have used that password. This could be devastating if someone gained control of your email, Facebook, or even a banking relationship. The best remedy is to use different passwords for each site. A quick and easy way to help you remember them is to use a base password but add a unique ID for individual websites; for example, asdfGoogle or asdfFacebook. For more tips on creating secure passwords, read this Microsoft article.
- Opening suspicious emails or websites — This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for scammers and hackers to obtain your personal info. These emails or websites have built-in codes that allow hackers to access your computer. A link may appear to lead to a legitimate website, where you would actually enter your info. How to avoid being tricked? Be completely sure that the link you click on is legitimate. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution. Delete suspicious emails. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Poor Facebook privacy settings — Facebook is the portal to upload your personality and life to the web. It most likely contains more information about you than any other website. To ensure that you aren’t revealing your life to the whole world, set your privacy settings to “friends only.” For more details, read about 10 privacy settings every Facebook user should know.