Today is International Safer Internet Day. It is observed around the world, having originated in Europe. Safer Internet Day is an awareness-raising campaign that started in Europe more than a decade ago and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries. The purpose of Safer Internet Day is to create a safer and better internet around the globe.
Ways to Be Safe
There are some common sense ways to be safe, but I still know people who ignore basic safety protocols and then wonder why they’ve been hacked (again).
When surfing the web, make sure you are using a secure connection. It’s SO tempting to sign in to the connection at your doctor’s office, the coffee shop, or restaurant, then while you are waiting do some surfing, shopping, banking, or whatever. This is just not safe! You should use a VPN or your phone data plan.
We hear so much about passwords yet people use the same ones over and over and they aren’t safe, either. I remember at one time having the same password for everything. That was a VERY long time ago and it no longer the case. Experts now say that the best passwords are either created with a password manager (we had Roboform in college) or phrases that substitute a “1” for an “l” (one for an l), or using a dollar sign instead of an “s” and adding some numbers. Additionally, they should be a MINIMUM of 12 characters. Yes, twelve. Twenty is better if the site will accept 20. So, an example might be:
My neighbor doesn’t have 16 cats, but this is an example of a phrase that you could use. Something that’s real to you, something you’ll remember, but is hard for a hacker. That might be a good solution for your email account or some other account you access often, but I must have 50 different logins, maybe more. Start counting them all and pretty soon you’ll realize just how many you actually have. So, a password manager is a better option for me.
Two factor Authorization
I have this on a couple accounts and it’s annoying, but I understand. This is where you sign in with the right password and ID, but
Safety on Social Media
This would be a VERY long list, but I’ll just name a
Beware of all the quizzes and giveaways on social media. They ask for information that you shouldn’t give. I seldom do the quizzes. When I do, I look carefully at the information they are asking me to provide. If they say they will have access to my FB profile, timeline, my friends’ lists (and sometimes THEIR timelines…), I click out of it REAL QUICK. I’m not giving that all away. They can look at MY public timeline, but my friends list? Their timelines? NO!!
Then they ask a bunch of questions in order to generate the answer. Look at these questions carefully. Some of the questions are the exact questions your bank or other institution asks when you forget your password or ID and need to verify you are who you say you are. They are gathering your personal information to steal your identity. Please be careful!
How many times do you get requests from someone that you don’t even know to send you a personal message? My homemaking Instagram account gets at least one request a week from men wanting to chat, “get to know me,” or whatever. One claimed to be the “personal” account of some famous person that I actually am acquainted with. So I responded with a question about a time we were together. No answer. Unless I know you personally or you ask if you can contact me personally on a specific post, expect that I will decline all DMs on social media.
I don’t open links unless I know who they are or where I’m expected to go. I’m leery of them all at this point. If it’s something I really am interested in and click on it, I check the address: is it https? I know my site isn’t (I don’t know how to get it to https, even though I know it’s free to do and have been in business long enough to verify), but I’m not asking you for any information. I’m not asking for your name, address, or even your email address. The outbound links I have on my site are secured sites.
Get the best information
I’m not an expert in this field and I don’t claim to know nearly enough. I am going to send you to a few sites that do have better information. They are authoritative. They also have information on cyberbullying and safety for your children and teens. Connect Safely also has quick guides you can download.
Be safe. Keep yourself and your kids safe.