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Top Ten Tips for Staying Safe Online


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As we come to the end of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we want to share some take-away tips so you can stay safe online: 

  1. Be wary of email messages that have a tone of urgency or extreme excitement, come from an unfamiliar or unexpected sender, and/or contain spelling/grammar errors. If you have any doubts, just delete the message. To learn more, watch a short video
  2. Hold on tight to your passwords and personal information. Temple, or any reputable business, will never ask for your password or confidential information (such as Social Security or credit card numbers) in an email. 
  3. Before you click on a link, check to see where it's really going. To do this, don't click but hover over the link with your mouse. The actual web address will usually appear at the bottom left corner of your browser window. In Outlook, the address appears as a pop-up. If the address seems suspicious, just delete the email or close the window. 
  4. Don't open an attachment sent via email unless you are expecting the file. Be extra cautious with any attachment that asks you to enable macros or grant access to your account. Instead of emailing attachments, use OWLbox, Google Drive or OneDrive to share your files. 
  5. Does a pop-up look suspicious? Don't click any links or call a phone number, if one is listed. Save your work, close the browser and restart your computer. 
  6. Beware when strangers call you out of the blue demanding payments or saying they have important information or there is a problem about your computer, printer or device. Don't install any programs, give them any personal information or send them payments. Just hand up. 
  7. Keep your apps and operating system software up-to-date, and this includes your smartphone and other home devices (e.g. routers). When notified that an update is available, install it. These updates often include the latest patches for security risks. 
  8. Back up your files regularly on a separate device and then disconnect it from your computer. (Ransomware can infect your backup devices too if they are connected to your computer.) If your computer becomes infected, you can restore your files from your backup device. You can also use OWLbox, Google Drive or OneDrive to make backups of your files. 
  9. Make sure you have firewall/antivirus software installed, updated and running on your computer. 
  10. Using wi-fi in a public space that doesn't require a password? Don't go online and type in usernames, passwords, personal information, or credit card numbers. There is a chance that someone could intercept this information and get access to your accounts. Also, make sure that access to your home network requires a password. 

Most importantly, trust your instincts. If something doesn't seem quite right - even an email that appears to come from a friend - chances are, it probably isn't.