Safe Surfing Protect your Identity and Personal Data
Identity - When signing up for anything online, even free software where your personal information may be requested before you can download, always think carefully about the kind of information you are being asked to supply. For instance, if something is free you should not have to give credit cards details. Consider registering a free email address at hotmail, yahoo, or opera and using that when asked to enter an email before a download. This will keep your main email address safe from abuse.
Safe Surfing Protect your Financial Information
Email - Never send your credit or debit card information by email. Email is not a secure method of communication and emails can be intercepted and the information read. Never reply to emails requesting passwords or that you enter login details for your online banking - these are almost certain to be scams. Emails requesting you to log in and supply access information to your bank or ebay, for instance, are know as "Phishing Emails" or "Spoof Emails". Do not respond to them or click on any of the links in these emails. It is good practice to NEVER click on any link in an unsolicited email, even the unsubscribe link. Quite often the unsubscribe link in a spam email is just a way to verify an active email address and by clicking on it you will just encourage more junk spam mail.
Shopping - When you shop online, be sure that you only provide financial information when you have a secure connection to an online shopping site. Ways of telling that the connection is secure include; 1) the address of the site will start https:// - notice the additional s? this is a sign that you have made a secure connection and that any information you send will be encrypted and not be able to be read if intercepted in transit. 2) Your web browser should show a locked padlock when you are connected to a secure site, the padlock symbol will usually be in the bottom right of your screen, look for the padlock symbol and the https:// start to the address to be sure.
Safe Surfing Protect your Children
As a parent, you will want your children to be safe in their adventures online. Keep their computer in a family room. It is not a good idea to allow children to access the Internet from their bedrooms. Consider installing "Nanny Software", this will block sites that are unsuitable for a young audience and offer other protections to a family computer. Service Providers such as AOL have their own proprietary software for safe family surfing. Take an interest in what your children are doing nline. If you occasionally ask questions and get them to talk about what they are doing online you will hopefully give them a sense of an adult prescence when they surf and communicate with strangers - you might ask them what they are typing in the chatroom!
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