Monthly Archives: September 2016

Tips on Using the Internet Safely and Responsibly

The Internet has become an integral part of our daily routines, be it checking email, catching up with latest news, downloading music, watching videos, playing games, sharing our thoughts via blogs, or even socializing with people over the net. With every passing day, the widespread reach of Internet technology is expanding, but so is the number of menacing elements over the Internet.

What is Internet Safety?

The Internet might, perhaps, be the most extensive resource for information, but it is also a place with numerous threats and dangers. Internet safety is a concept that promotes safe web browsing without falling prey to scams and getting caught in scandals.

Fraudulent People Who Abuse the Internet

While you are browsing the net, there are some types of people that you will have to be wary of. These are people waiting for you to divulge personal information, so they can take over your identity, or people who will try to con you into parting with your money. The list below mentions few such people.

Hackers
Yes, people can hack your accounts, and once they have access to your account, they have control over all your transactions, and can misuse your account for illegal or objectionable purposes. In case hackers manage to hack your bank accounts, or other accounts that have important financial details, you could be virtually robbed as well.

Scammers
Online scams asking you to provide important information and then misusing it, are a huge menace over the Internet. Generally, these scams attract people by sending out fake emails saying that you have won a prize, or you have been selected as the lucky winner of some contest.

Phishing
Phishing is the activity wherein people fraudulently acquire sensitive information by posing as a trustworthy entity via email or instant messaging.

Spammers
Although spam emails are relatively harmless, they can fill up your inbox and be a constant source of irritating and unwanted advertising. Spammers can also pass on your address and phone number, and bombard you with telemarketing calls and snail mail as well.

Pedophiles
The Internet is no longer safe, especially for children, with the presence of countless pedophiles hunting for easy victims. They could trap children via chat, webcams, and even bully them into meeting in person.

Pornography Website Owners
Internet pornography is a major threat for people who frequently keep on posting their pictures and videos over the Internet. Make sure you do not upload your pictures and videos on unreliable sites that do not provide you any privacy guarantees. Misuse of photos and videos in pornographic industry is a huge menace over the Internet.

How to Attain Internet Safety

  • Safe Internet browsing is the first and most important rule when it comes to users using the World Wide Web. Maintaining maximum anonymity is always the safest option while browsing the Internet or chatting.
  • Do not give out your address, telephone number, credit card number, social security number, passwords, or even your complete name as long as it is not compulsory.
  • Do not allow strangers access to your web camera, and even while chatting with strangers via instant messenger, try to block suspicious users.
  • While shopping on the Internet, make sure you select a reliable website. Avoid shopping on websites that you have never heard of, or seem fishy to you even if they are offering attractive deals.
  • Do not upload your photographs, videos, and your personal information on social networking websites, which do not have privacy settings.
  • Avoid using an Internet café to carry out important transactions over the Internet.
  • For a safe Internet browsing experience, equip your personal computer with filtering, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software, a firewall detector, and a pop-up blocker which will warn you and protect you against possible online perils.

Finding Internet Safety Tips for You

My generation, which grew up with the rise of Internet in the 90s, got introduced to it at an age, when we were careful and mature enough to handle its impact. However, today, five-year olds start browsing the Internet and Google almost every single thing that comes to their monstrously curious mind. There was a time when you could control the rate at which your child got exposed to the real world, but that is sadly, no longer the case. Divulging personal information on the Internet can put a person’s life in jeopardy and therefore, you must provide guidelines to any novice who is accessing the cyber world for the first time.

Tips For Kids and Adults

Having the world at our fingertips in the form of Internet has its pros and cons. While you get access to an unlimited store of information, you also put your own privacy and data at risk. There are thousands of malicious computer viruses that can invade your computer system and steal your data, if you do not have an antivirus software program installed. Here are some safety tips for parents and children, that will protect your privacy and data.

Thou Shalt Not Share Personal Information
Do not share your name, address, social security number, phone number, and other such personal details on public forums on the Internet. You don’t know how this information will be used by third parties. Hence it is best that you withhold such information.

Thou Shalt Avoid Talking to Strangers
Children are advised to be suspicious of any strangers that they meet in chat rooms and social networking sites. Avoid talking to strangers and do not give out any personal details. You don’t know what the intentions of a person at the other end of the line are. Would you give out any personal information to a man whom you meet on the street? Similarly, avoid talking to strangers on the Internet.

Thou Shalt Avoid Sharing Pictures
Never share your pictures and home videos on any public forums or website on the Internet. These pictures can be used for nefarious purposes. So, do not share your personal photos or videos on any portal on the Internet. And if you do share them on sites like Facebook, make sure that your privacy settings are appropriately enabled.

Thou Shalt Not Share Financial Information
Do not divulge any financial information on the Internet like bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other such information. Do not believe in any mails that you get, offering you a surprise lottery amount or any such financial reward. If you go ahead with such offers, you are bound to fall for some of the popular Internet scams. Please do not go ahead with any financial transaction on the Internet, before you are sure about the authenticity of the website.

Thou Shalt Avoid Sharing Login Name and Passwords
Under no circumstances should you share your passwords, related to your email accounts and online bank account transactions. Otherwise, if you do, there are chances that your account will get hacked, leading to dangerous consequences.

Thou Shalt Not Download Stuff Without Permission
Children are advised to avoid downloading any stuff on the Internet, without taking permission from their parents and elders. This is one of the prime rules that children should follow. These programs may contain malicious viruses which may crash your computer system entirely.

Thou Shalt Install Parental Control Filters
One of the important tips for parents is to install a parental control software, or change web browser settings, so that children are protected from obscene and pornographic material that is rampant on the Internet. This is very important for your child’s safety and mental health.

Thou Shalt Not Violate Copyrights
Do not download pirated music or movies via Internet. This will be considered to be a violation of copyrighted material for which you could be prosecuted. Your Internet service provider closely monitors illegal P2P downloads which can be reported to the authorities. So you are advised to be careful.

Thou Shalt Not Misuse Internet Resources
Do not take advantage of the access to personal information that social networking sites like Facebook provide you with. Hacking an email account is a punishable offense and do not indulge in such nefarious activities.

Thou Shalt Get an Antivirus Software Installed
It is very important that you safeguard your PC from the attack of malicious software that may get downloaded from the Internet. See to it that you get an antivirus software that has special Internet security features.

I recommend that you take these safety warnings quite seriously. People have suffered a lot of mental anguish and even financial loss, due to carelessness while using the Internet. If you follow some of these basic rules while using the Internet, it will certainly be a safe and enjoyable experience for you.

Ways to Safety for Using Facebook

The Internet is an exciting way of being globally connected to the world. You can do various things on the Internet at just a click of a button. Other than electronic shopping, one of the most popular reasons why people need the web is because of social networking sites. They are a new trend in the market, and almost everyone who owns or has access to a computer and the Internet, is a member of a social networking site. It is the best way to stay connected with friends and distant peers without taking the pains of calling or meeting them everyday. When you talk about social networking sites, one name comes to mind and that is Facebook. Sure, there are many more social networking websites in the market, but Facebook is the most popular, and today we are going to discuss some safety tips to remember while using Facebook.

Tips for Using Facebook Safely

It’s the most popular social networking site in the world. Period. More than 250 million people log in daily on Facebook, and the site boasts a membership of over 600 million. Though the site is the best platform for people to meet, interact, share photos and experiences, it’s also a good platform for anti-social elements who hack other people’s account and try to cause harm. Facebook users often share personal information through chatting and post information on each others walls, which can create a lot of problems if seen by a mischief maker. This makes it very essential that you be aware of some safety norms while using Facebook.

Sharing Information with Caution
Most of us share pictures and information on our profile, but it’s very important to make sure that no outsider can view what you upload on your profile. Facebook’s default setting allows people who are not your friends to view your information. Make sure you only allow your friends to see all the pictures and videos you post. All your other settings should also be set as ‘Friends Only’.

Do Not Accept Every Friend Request
The main purpose of Facebook is to make sure that you, as a member, stay connected with all your friends and peers. However, accepting every friend request you get is foolishness. There have been many cases where sex offenders, potential kidnappers, and even private investigators have created fake accounts to gain access through your information. As soon as you accept their friend request they start tampering with your account. Keep your Friends List as close knitted as possible.

Less Personal Information
Make sure you don’t fill up your personal information on the Facebook page. Updating your birthday is also a matter of concern, the more information you add about yourself the more easy it is going to get for someone to use your account for wrong purposes. Don’t fill in your phone numbers, addresses or even birthdays.

Do not Leave Your Facebook Account On
Leaving your Facebook account open on a public computer is like leaving your cell phone in a public place. Anyone can sit and start updating posts to your wall, customize site settings, and even type something which may later lead to conflicts. Always sign out of your account.

Avoid Posting Children’s Photos
The world is filled with child molesters and kidnappers, therefore I would suggest not to post your child’s pictures on Facebook. Make sure your kids don’t get entangled in this Facebook madness. Their photos can also be used for commercial purposes.

Think Before Posting
Before posting anything on the wall, think twice. Do not go on posting your late night extravaganzas and which hot chick you hooked up with last night. Almost everything you post on a Facebook wall can be seen by all the members of your “Friends List”. If you really need to share your details with your friends and colleagues do it on email. Don’t be a laughing joke on the Internet.

Hope this article on safety tips for using Facebook was helpful to you. By following such simple tips you will help Facebook be a much better and safer place for its various users.

Ways to Know if a Website is Safe

The Internet has made our lives easy in more ways than one, and today we are accustomed to use the Net for everything from banking to paying our bills to shopping. For this, we are required to fill in our personal information and use our credit or debit cards for online transactions. This is convenient as we do not even have to leave the confines of our homes and yet, we can enjoy shopping at our favorite destinations! However, this huge availability of sensitive information on the Web has given rise to crooks who are after collecting this huge database of information and using it to their benefits. Cyber crime, as crime on the Internet is termed as, is on the rise and there are thousands of sites out there that steal your personal information once you click on their links or download stuff from their site. The threats are many and include malware, spyware, phishing, virus and more. So, how can you protect yourself and your computer from all such potential threats? Well, the only way out is dealing with websites that are safe and secure.

How to Check if a Website is Safe

Before we get into the ways to check if a website is safe, let us try and understand what is meant by a secure website. When you browse through different sites on the Internet, there is an interchange of data between your computer and the server. The problem here is that this data is transmitted in “plain text” format and it is not difficult for anyone to access and decipher this data. Now, if you are wondering who would access this and how, then you must know that the information passes across several computers before it reaches the server. A secure website is one that encrypts the data using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, thus protecting it from being “read” by third parties who wish to use it for their benefits. Here are some ways to check if a website is safe to buy or order from.

Update Your Browser
The first thing that you can do in order to be able to detect threats from a website is updating your browser. No matter which browser you are using, you find updates appearing at regular intervals, urging you to install them. It is recommended that you install each one of these updates as every browser has its own list of phishing sites and spam websites which are regularly updated for advanced Internet safety. So, an updated browser can alert you against such websites.

Check the URL
Checking the URL of the Web page is simple and perhaps one of the best ways to detect if the site is secure or not. Just have a look at the URL and you’ll find that in case of Web pages that are secure, the URL begins with “https” instead of “http” as found on ordinary Web pages. For example, have a look at the URL of the ‘login’ page of Facebook and you’ll find that it begins with “https”.

Look for the Lock Icon
When you open a Web page that is secure, you’ll find an icon of a lock somewhere on the browser window. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, you should see the icon on the right of the address bar (or location bar) of a secure web page, while in Mozilla Firefox browser, you’ll find it in the bottom right corner of the page i.e., on the right side of the ‘Status Bar’ located at the bottom of the page. If you’re using the Google Chrome browser, you should look for the lock icon before the url in the address bar.

Check the Security Certificate
The presence of a lock icon does indicate a secure site but to be doubly sure, click (or double-click) on the icon of the lock. You’ll find that it is a link and clicking on it opens a new window that describes the security of the site in detail. This is nothing but the ‘security certificate’ we are talking about. The security certificate is the ultimate indicator of a site’s safety, and in it you’ll find details such as to whom the certificate is issued, by whom, the validity of the certificate, etc.

Use Online Tools
This is another way to check if a website is safe. There are certain websites on the Net that offer to check sites for security. All you need to do is go to one of these sites and enter the URL of the site you wish to check. Some sites like Web of Trust (WOT) even offer add-ons that you can download for free and install in your browser. The names of few of such sites are given below.

  • Google Safe Browsing
  • Web of Trust (WOT)
  • Norton Safe Web
  • HpHosts Online
  • SiteAdvisor
  • Blacklist Doctor

Look Out for Personal Contact Details
This is especially applicable to little known shopping sites with whom you have never done business before. In such cases, to find out if the business is real, look for a physical address or contact number. And if you chance to find a phone number, call the number to find if it is valid. Also, do some research about the particular company on the Net.

Thus, we see that there are several ways to know if a website is secure or not. So, before every transaction that you make on a website, check if it is indeed safe to do so. Hope you have a pleasant experience shopping online!