With 2013 upon us, many are considering the changes we can make this year for a better life. Perhaps you’re thinking about a new diet to loose some of those holiday pounds, or maybe a career change or even embarking on a new chapter of your life. In the spirit of making changes for good, I wanted to pass along a couple very specific things you can resolve to do now, to be safer on the Internet this year.
This is not an exhaustive list, but these items do represent very basic, and easy things that should help protect your identity, your equipment, and your family on the Internet.
Install updated Security Software (e.g., Anti Virus, Firewall): Yeah, I know you’re thinking this is obvious. But do you really know if your computers are all protected with up to date Anti Virus? Many people do not –and one of the reasons is that frequently computers come with Anti Virus software already installed (free for a couple months). Once the Anti Virus software expires, it’s easy to forget to renew it. So here’s your New Years reminder - and Xfinity Internet customers get Norton Security Suite included at no cost (it auto renews every year, so next year, you won’t have to worry about this!). Resource: www.Xfinity.com/constantguard
Think before you click: If you get an email or a text message from someone you don’t know, don’t click on it. This is a common way that viruses are spread. Even better, make sure you install security software that provides web ratings in your search results. This kind of software will warn you that a site may be risky BEFORE you click through the site.
Update your Software: One of the most common ways that viruses can infect your system is through a vulnerability in the software (e.g., Operating System or word processing applications, web browser software, etc.). Often the software companies update the software before a massive outbreak , but without the update, you are still left vulnerable. If you are a Microsoft Windows user, set your system to automatically receive updates. Another trick is to consider software that will automatically update (or alert you if manual intervention is needed). Comcast recommends Secunia for this function.
Be smart about passwords: Cyber criminals work very hard to get your passwords. They implore all kinds of tactics, like distributing malware which records your keystrokes on your computer to creating sophisticated software which repeatedly tries to guess your password. With this in mind, resist the urge to create the same or similar password for all of your web accounts. Identify those accounts, which are most important to you (the ones you would least likely want to get hacked) and create unique passwords for each. Xfinity Internet users get Constant Guard to help securely manage and maintain different passwords. Resource: http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/celebrate-change-your-password-day
Communicate: Parents, in our digital world, Internet Safety know-how is not a nice to have – it’s a life skill. Talk to your kids early and often about what they are doing online. This is a big topic, and I will dedicate blogs on this topic in the coming months, but if there is one thing I can convey now it would be to simply teach your children that what they post online will forever remain online. If they are mindful of this rule, it can help them substantially in college and career searches. Also, to that end, consider respecting the minimum age requirements of Social Networking Sites. These rules are set up to protect younger generations and once a child starts using these sites, it can be difficult to stop. Resource: http://xfinity.comcast.net/constantguard/Education/For_Parents/Digital-Reputation
For additional resources, be sure to check out: http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/tips-and-advice/