5 Ways to Stay Secure Online

Tech Quick Tips by Interactive Solutions, LLC

 1. Hook up to a network that you know.

Free Wi-Fi is tempting, but be sure that you consider who is providing the connection. Public connections at the local coffee shop are usually unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. While these networks provide a convenience, there are risks to be aware of.

 

2. Bank and shop with caution.

Shopping from familiar websites is a good place to start. Stick with the reputable sites that are tried and true – like Amazon or eBay. Also, when checking out and finalizing the purchase, look for the ‘padlock’ symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser. This will ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of this webpage. Keeping an eye on your bank statements for suspicious activity is always a good idea, among these other best practices for shopping online.

 

 

3. Use secure passwords.

Passwords for logging into any website should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters – as well as be different for each website that you log into. It can definitely be a pain to remember all of these passwords, but ask yourself which is more of a pain – remembering these, or recovering stolen personal information.

 

 

4. Lock Your Computer.

When you walk away from your machine, lock it. In Windows, it is as easy as pressing the Windows key + L. On an Apple Mac, pressing “Control+Shift+Eject” will do the trick (unless you do not have an optical drive, then you can hit the “Power” key instead of “Eject”). This practice would be the equivalent to deadbolting the front door of your home. It acts as a deterrent to the bad guys as well as a line of defense. It may even be worth setting up a password lock on your Apple or Windows machine as well.

 

5. Do not click on anything unfamiliar.If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. If you get an email from an unknown source, do not click any of the links within it – and immediately report it to your IT Team. If a window pops up while browsing a website, immediately close it. Familiarity is always your friend. Using your judgment and trusting your gut is the ultimate defense when online. Always play it safe!

 

Cybersecurity Glossary

Anti-Malware—Software that prevents, detects and eliminates malicious programs on computing devices.

 

Antivirus—Software that detects and eliminates computer viruses.

 

Backdoor Trojan—A virus that enables remote control of an infected device, allowing virtually any command to be enacted by the attacker. Backdoor Trojans are often used to create botnets for criminal purposes.

 

Botnets—A group of Internet-connected devices configured to forward transmissions (such as spam or viruses) to other devices, despite their owners being unaware of it.

 

Cybercrime—Also known at computer crime or netcrime, cybercrime is loosely defined as any criminal activity that involves a computer and a network, whether in the commissioning of the crime or the target.

 

DDoSDistributed denial of service attack. An attempt to interrupt or suspend host services of an Internet-connected machine causing network resources, servers, or websites to be unavailable or unable to function.

 

Malware—An overarching term describing hostile and/or intrusive software including (but not limited to) viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other more, taking the form of executables, scripts, and active content.

 

Phishing—An attempt to acquire sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and credit card details for malicious purposes by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in a digital environment.

 

Rootkit—Trojans that conceal objects or activities in a device’s system, primarily to prevent other malicious programs from being detected and removed

 

Social Engineering—Non-technical malicious activity that exploits human interaction to subvert technical security policy, procedures, and programs, in order to gain access to secure devices and networks.

 

Trojan—Malicious, non-replicating programs that hide on a device as benign files and perform unauthorized actions on a device, such as deleting, blocking, modifying, or copying data, hindering performance, and more.

 

Zero-Day Vulnerability—a security gap in software that is unknown to its creators, which is hurriedly exploited before the software creator or vendor patches it.