Internet Safety Reminders

  • Never respond to email requests for your password or other personally identifying information.  These are always scams. Always.  Really, always. 
  • If you receive an email that appears to be from a service you use such as your credit card company, bank, Facebook, etc. with links in it be wary.  Do not use the link provided in the email but instead log into your account like you normally would.  Either type in the address or use your internet favorites.  If the request is legitimate there should be a message for you on the web site with the same information as in the email.
  • Watch out for on-line greeting cards because many of these are actually attempts to get you to download malware.   If it is not 100% clear who it is from ignore it.  If it tells you that you need to download an update to view the card, ignore it.  Or do what the IT department does, ignore them all.
  • Watch out for pop-ups that warn you that malware has been detected on your computer and that you must download something to remove it.  If this happens while you are browsing the internet, it is a scam.  Do not attempt to close the window or even try to cancel.  Instead leave your browser open, close any open documents and then reboot your computer. If possible avoid that web site in the future or at least for several days.
  • There is no free iPod, if a deal seems too good to be true it is.  Don’t click on that link.
  • Your business, personal and financial passwords should be different.  Your bank password should not be the same as your Facebook account or your email.
  • Be wary of links in instant messaging applications. If it appears to be from a friend, but you aren't in an active conversation, make sure they are on-line and that they actually sent you the message. When in doubt don't click.
  • Google (or any search engine) searches for popular celebrities or recent events are often ripe with illegitimate sites hoping you will click on them looking for the latest pictures or video. Be careful which web sites you go to.
  • When a disaster strikes be wary of emails urging you to donate to relief efforts. If you wish to help, go to a legitimate web site you know and make your donation directly.
  • Make sure you have a security suite installed on your system and keep it up to date.

Statistics from Websense on the state of internet security during the first half of 2009

  • Websense Security Labs identified a 233 percent growth in the number of malicious Web sites.
  • 50 percent of Web pages linked to Web sites categorized as “Sex” also served malicious content.
  • 69 percent of all Web pages with any objectionable content (e.g. Sex, Adult Content, Gambling, Drugs) also had at least one malicious link.
  • 85.6 percent of all unwanted emails in circulation during this period contained links to spam sites and/or malicious web sites.