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5 Ways to Ensure a Secure Online Experience

5 Ways to Ensure a Secure Online Experience

Growing up in the mid-90’s life was relatively calm as regards to the internet which was just starting to get traction with about 10,000 website on the web in 1995. I remember waiting for the dial up modem to connect me to the internet with America Online aka AOL.  I mean at the time I didn’t get a phone until I was like 16, I didn’t have a social media account until Myspace rolled around in 2003, and really for the most part all my social interactions where with friends in person.

Today things are drastically different 7-12 year old kids already have phones, social media platforms are everywhere from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest to hundreds of various dating sites. With all the advances in technology some might think we have world right at our fingertips. In the 2002 Spiderman movie inspired by Stan Lee’s comics, Peter Park’s uncle Ben says “With great power comes great responsibility“ can also sum up the internet and how we use it.

In this day and age we use the internet on our phones, tablets and computers for everything from checking emails, paying bills, dating, browsing websites, blogging, vlobbing, buying things, banking, reading news or articles, and most of time posting and sharing moments of our life’s. The internet usage has become a way of life in terms of social communication and staying connected to what’s happening in our world. It might feel like you can’t live without the internet.

Key Things to Remember:

Never share sensitive Personal Information online (like phone numbers or home email)

Use common sense when choosing what to share with third party applications. Someone could share anything you post if you do not have security protection settings on. Anyone can get caught up emotionally in an innocent moment and post it on social media. However, this could lead to being targeted and having your post misrepresented or twisted. Be careful what you post on any social media sites you use. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in my book.

Never share comprising photos

Last month, Military Time published an article “‘Dependa’ bashing: Mudslingers Stun Military Spouses” where actual military personnel were targeting military spouse online. Cyberbullying is on the rise among military spouses and can be hurtful and hateful. One Military spouse agreed to have her family’s picture posted on a website and after the picture was posted comments came in labeling her family as fat. No matter what the situation is, always be careful when agreeing to have you photos posted online.

One day on my way to work this week I happen to be was listening to KFI on the radio. Bill Handel “On the Morning Show” was talking about a recent news report about Sextortion.

“A form of sexual exploitation that employs non-physical forms of
coercion by threatening to release sexual images or information to extort
sexual favors from the victim”

The FBI launched an official investigation when a victim and her family contacted the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Ultimately, last year the FBI investigation led to the arrest of 26-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler who used the Internet to victimize nearly 350 teenage girls and was sentenced to 105 years in prison for multiple counts of child pornography.

After listening to this alarming report on KFI of the internet can ruin people’s life’s I got to
thinking about how complacent many nowadays have gotten with their use of the internet or social media.

Also, remember depending on if you use your phone to take pictures your photos could have Geotagging embedded with longitude and latitude coordinates. I think the scariest thing
about Geotagging is it allows someone to know where you were.

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and SMS messages. It is the equivalent of adding a 10-digit grid coordinate to everything you post on the internet. Many people are unaware of Geotagging possibilities held in the gadgets they own, while for others, they know but forget to disable them.”

These two examples illustrate that you need to think before you post a picture of yourself or what you doing. If you have children talk to them about the dangers of the internet.

Never share your current location or house address

By safe guarding your home address and current location the best you can you ensure others won’t stalk you or potentially hurt you. Checking-In to places on social media has become second nature and often times we never give it a second thought. It’s important to remember that Checking-In somewhere online you maybe be tipping off unexpected burglars that you won’t be home for a certain amount of time.

I remember, earlier this year ISIS was threatening military personnel and the safety of their families through social media leaking names hacked from a military database breach.  ISIS was trying to inspire loan attacks from ISIS supports within the United States using the information that was leaked. The internet can be a very dark place where many illegal and radical things can
happen.

Never do online banking on free Wi-Fi or Share your Password

Hackers can steal your identity or personal information if they can hack it from free Wi-Fi spots. Do not leave yourself open to these kinds of attacks. Use only secure Wi-Fi that is protected.

“Setting up a WiFi network is neither hard nor expensive, and scammers have started doing so in the hopes they can steal passwords and other personal information. If you connect to a network called something like “Free WiFi”, with no password required and no welcome
screen, it might be a trap.”

 Never click on Spam links or respond (This also includes clicking
links from unknown entities)

Clicking on spammer links can bombard your email inbox with more unsolicited emails for products or worst yet infect your computer with malware.

“By visiting the spammer’s website you’re giving them information about your
geographic location (calculated based on your IP address), your computer operating
system and your browser.”

Another great thing to keep in mind is do not click links from unknown sources. Links from unknown sources can cause havoc on your computer infecting it with the latest virus.

Lastly…

It can feel like no matter where you turn online you might not feel safe. However, with these simple tips the internet can be safe for life’s special moments, entertainment and learning. The internet is full of a plethora of useful websites, blogs, and other resources that might not be available anywhere but the internet.

Once you share something anywhere on the internet it’s out there forever. So, think twice and then think again about what you share, say or post on the internet.

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What do you do to ensure your safety online? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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