09 : Protect Yourself with Internet Safety

This is the ninth in a series of (hopefully) 52 posts related to the book Every Monday Matters. I'd love it if some other people wanted to go through the book with me. Contact me if you're interested.

I use computers a lot.
Some people might call me a geek.

I’m here to tell you that the internet is not 100% secure.
It’s not 100% safe, and it’s not 100% hacker-proof.

That’s the bad news.
The good news is it’s not 100% dangerous either, and if you’re vigilant, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk online

Step 1: Passwords

Your first line of defense is always your password. A good password has a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.

A longer password is always stronger. 10 characters is good, 20 characters is better.

Resist the temptation to use the same password on every website you go to.
You should use a different password everywhere you login. That way, if somebody cracks one of your passwords, they don’t have the keys to your full identity. Change your password often, like once a month. But don’t make it just the name of the month.

Now everybody is going to try to login to my email with the password pathawksoctober

Step 2: Be suspicious

If you get an email from some lawyer in Europe that you’ve never talked to before, don’t open it.

If you start seeing messages that say “CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE NOW!” Don’t click on them.

Either talk to your companies IT director, or your 12 year old brother who knows more about computers than you could ever hope to know.

Either way, they can tell you how to securely get rid of these messages.

Step 3: Keep Private Stuff Private

Assume that anything you put on the internet will be there forever.

This blog will be here forever.

So think twice before posting that picture of you holding up your drivers license with you social security number and your phone number and mothers madden name.

For me, I decided that I don’t mind having my real name online.

Unless Pat Hawks isn’t my real name.

Maybe it’s Richard.

But I’m not going to give you my mothers madden name, or my social security number, or my drivers license number, or those pictures of my boss with the feather boa around his neck.

That’s important for different reasons.

Step 4: Use a Firewall and Anti-Virus Software

When you’re using a computer at work, your company probably already has these tools set up for you.

If you have any questions, you can talk to your local IT master. I’m sure they’d be willing to talk to you in two hours or less about the whole network setup using big words you don’t understand and looking at you like an idiot when you ask what TCP/IP stands for.

For more information about where to download Anti-Virus and Firewall software, visit EveryMondayMatters.com

We’ll E-ya later