Internet Safety

Internet safety is a topic that is always in the news media. In this lesson you will learn 6 cyber security practices from STAYSAFEONLINE.ORG. There are short descriptions for each of the 6 practices. Please read each practice entirely and email your teacher a paragraph explaining a safety precaution that you take with your computer or one that you use at school or work.

1. Protect your personal information. It's valuable.
Never give out personal information online. Do not list phone numbers, social security numbers or passwords on the internet. You should never post your address or a picture of where you live on the internet. If you use myspace or a similar program, don't give status updates about where you are going or where you live. You should be careful about where you use your email address too. If you use it on certain websites, you may receive unwanted emails or an unwanted predator. If you shop online, be careful to read privacy policies when entering financial information.

2. Know who you're dealing with online.
If you are asked to give personal information, whether financial or not, always trust the person asking. If it is a company, make certain there is a physical address and phone number provided. If you are receiving pop-ups on your screen asking for information, it is highly likely that you have something commonly referred to as bait. The pop-ups are phishing for your information and should be reported to ****. Other pop-ups come in the form of a question wanting to know if you want to add software. If you select to download software, it probably has spyware secretly attached. Spyware acts like a computer virus by attacking other software on your computer and controlling how you operate programs. Spam email often has the above red flags you should avoid too.

3. Use anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software to help keep your computer safe and secure.
Your classroom computer has the above security measures already installed. However, if you are using a computer at home that does not have the software listed, you should invest in them immediately. Every computer is at risk of receiving a virus. Most of the software listed costs around $20-$30 at a store and takes minutes to install. If you are an active myspace user and you don't have anti-spyware installed on your computer, you have spyware or will soon have it and it is controlling programs without you even knowing. If you don't use myspace, it is only a matter of time before you visit the wrong website and receive spyware. Seriously. It will destroy your computer and make your parents very unhappy.

4. Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology to help protect your personal information.
It is important to change your password regularly. If you use letters, numbers and characters in your password, you are less likely to be hacked. It is very easy for a hacker to figure out your password. Most people don't give this practice much thought, but if you are an online chatter or a regular net user (especially wireless) you are much more susceptible to being hacked online. Please reset your gaggle email password to one that you will remember and one that contains letters and numbers.

5. Back up important files.
Buy a storage device this week or weekend. You will be saving information from your classroom computer and may switch seats periodically in class. You should back up files onto a floppy or other storage device regularly for your own sake and as a security measure against possible hackers.

6. Learn what to do if something goes wrong.
If you are at school, let a teacher or administrator know immediately. If you are at home, unplug the computer from the modem and tell your parents. If it is a virus, take the necessary precautions by scanning your hard drive. If it is a possible online predator, locate a police official.

For more information regarding internet safety, visit:

Stay Safe Online