Online Safety Education

One of the biggest problems with internet users around the world, is the lack of understanding and awareness while surfing the web. Ignorance is not bliss. Please take note of these points:

1. Many free links, items and wares on the web, are not really free. They are being paid for through the advertising on the site, or by adding other applications (often unknown to you) and included them in the installation of the actual program you are trying to install. Be VERY careful when installing something off the web you have downloaded. Make sure what you install is only the application you want to, not the ones that often come with it. They are not always easy to spot, as while you install, they can be pre-selected to prevent you from choosing to not install.

2. Avoid clicking adverts on the web! Especially any that suggest you have won something. The advert may state you are the 1000th person to visit the site! DO NOT click these links and do not download or install whatever they want you to. Certainly do not give out your personal details. Unfortunately, you are not that special, and as much as the site may suggest it, avoid believing they have something special for you! Sites can even pick up the town, city or general location you are surfing from, so they can make it feel like they are targeting you specifically. If a link wants you to accept a free gift, be very suspicious!

3. Do not click random links! Do not click any link that you can’t verify. To avoid viruses spread via email or instant messaging (eg, Skype, Google Chat), think before you click; if you receive a message out of the blue, with nothing more than a link and/or general text, do not click it. If you doubt its validity, ask for more information from the sender. If someone out of the blue wants to be your “friend” (new contact) in Facebook or Skype, avoid communicating with them. These are nearly always hoaxes. Especially in Skype, if someone wants to be your friend without any explanation, block and report them.

4. Beware of email and/or email attachments from unknown people, or with a strange subject line. Never open an attachment you weren’t expecting, and if you do not know the sender of an attachment, delete the message without reading the attachment.

5. If you visit a site, and it suggests you must install a codec or a video or audio player to view the movies on the site, NEVER install the software!

6. How can I be sure that a banking website is genuine?

Some web links, especially ones that are a part of phishing schemes, will redirect to fraudulent web pages; even when entering Internet addresses into your browser by hand, you might end up at a phisher’s site if the address you enter is non-secure or incomplete, or is automatically completed or redirected by your browser. Unfortunately, when you access non-secure websites (i.e., those sites whose addresses use an http:// prefix), you can do nothing to verify that you have not been redirected to a fraudulent site. However, when accessing secure sites, including most commercial, and financial services, you can protect yourself by making sure that the site you are visiting is actually the page you want to get to. To do this, type the entire URL, including the initial https://, into your browser.

7. Maintain current software and updates! Keep your software updated by applying the latest service packs and patches. DO NOT AVOID DOING MICROSOFT WINDOWS UPDATES! Click here if you need to find out how to update your Windows computer.

8. If in doubt, please feel free to contact the IT Department.


Google provides some tips on being aware of suspicious links, software, and preventing malware: Click here.