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Internet Safety Tips

There is no denying that the Internet is an essential part of our lives. We rely on it for work/business, education, and recreation. But, sometimes we get too comfortable with our Internet usage. Therefore, it is important to make sure you’re practicing internet safety. Here’s some tips to help you protect yourself and your family from unwelcome eyes and cyber dangers, such as hacking.

Internet safety: Your physical self and your information

This might seem like the most obvious statement, but be careful about posting photos and location, especially with little ones. Posting your vacation is (usually) fine. We’re talking about try not to post where you are in your residential area. For example, if you post about going to your local coffee shop frequently, then stalkers will know to look for you there. This is especially important if you have children- do NOT post where they go to school! There are apps, such as Viiddo, that allow you to post about your children safely from dangerous eyes. Post location and photos in moderation, and/or wait until you are somewhere else to throw stalkers off your track.

Your name, credit card number, address, and other important information is stored in your computer and/or smart device. To protect yourself from hackers stealing your information, or worse, identity, make sure you have a strong firewall that’s up-to-date.

This may sound lame, but you should at least skim over privacy policies. You’d be surprised at how much of your information is sold off. Recently, popular social media app Tik-Tok has been on the brink of exile. This is due to the Chinese government breaching into individual user’s phones and collecting private information. US government employees and their families were required to sign contracts agreeing not to download Tik-Tok to prevent the Chinese from infiltrating into our own government’s system. Other apps, such as Facebook, monitors your personal activity and sells the information to relevant parties. That’s why when you vocalize or type in an item that interests you, you’ll see ads about it immediately. You can control this by disabling cookies. But, we advise that you be aware of how much of your personal information is on the Internet, and who has access to it.

Protecting your devices from the dark side of the Internet

Although hackers and viruses don’t plague individual’s computers as much anymore, it still happens. Now, hackers will try to infiltrate through your online accounts, such as Facebook. Or, will try to sneak a link to a virus by covering it up with a seemingly innocent link. One of our previous articles mentions how to spot a scam site, along with pop-up windows that are likely ready to destroy your computer. Here’s how to set up a firewall.

We’re not trying to scare you off the Internet for good. We encourage keeping up with Internet trends and staying connected! Now, you can surf the web with more of a peace of mind knowing that you’re mindful of internet safety.

 

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Indicators of a Spam vs. Legitimate Website

The Internet is a helpful resource for many things in our daily lives. We research, online shop, job hunt, and more. Due to our growing dependency on the Internet, it is important to be able to tell when a site looks fishy or if it’s safe to go ahead. If you venture into a spam site, you could accidentally download a virus and/or invite hackers into your system. It’s rare for smartphones to contract a virus, but it is possible. Also, hackers could steal your identity and personal information. To protect yourself, your family, and your computer/smart device, inform yourself on how to not fall into a spam site’s trap.

A bad website looks… bad.

An example of a spam website

If it looks suspicious, trust your feelings. The number one indicator of a bad website is if it’s littered with ads. A few ads on a page is fine, but if you fall into a sea of ads, X out immediately. Most likely, all of the “ads” are fake and actually contain a virus that will activate if you click on it. This also applies to pop-up ads claiming that you’ve won a free iPhone. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Spam ads are often flashy and exaggerated, such as shaking around. It is important that you close out the website, not just the ad. Even trying to close just the ad can result in damage.

Spam sites will also contain links leading to nowhere, will look outdated, and overall, looks inconsistent. Even little mistakes such as typos could be a red flag. They can pose as any type of website: movie/ TV streaming site, online clothing store, articles, ect. The page will look somewhat barren (aside from all the ads) and disorganized. If there’s no credibility, such as lack of contact info and incorrect facts, indicates an unreliable site.

A good site provides service and information, not viruses.

A legitimate company wants to form a trustful relationship with their website visitors, especially if there’s money involved. A good company will want to continuously receive your support, so they won’t scam you. You can be reassured that it’s a safe site if it looks clean and organized, and provides credibility. The most sure sign is the padlock HTTPS accompanying the URL. If there’s a link for you to report anything wrong, that’s a great sign that the site only has the best intentions.

 

There’s a grey area of poorly designed sites that are still safe and spam sites that appear to be good enough. Use your best judgement and be safe than sorry. When in doubt, try searching for reviews and ratings with Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report.

 

Interested in finding out more? Contact Redwood Creative today!