General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What basic knowledge will help keep the average person safe on the Internet?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (37403points) April 9th, 2014
7 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

I am a somewhat above average Internet user. I use a PC, and I have good anti-virus software (Kaspersky Pure 3.0) that also monitors my Internet use and actually shuts down my browser if a malicious download is detected.

The browser I use is Google Chrome, and I use https connections whenever possible.

I maintain email accounts at Gmail and Yahoo. I access the Gmail account securely (https). I use two-part verification for this account. The Yahoo account was hacked twice in the distant past, so I deleted all contacts on the account. I keep it only as a backup to retrieve access to Gmail should that ever be necessary.

I am careful before opening any email messages on my Gmail account. If I do not recognize the sender and if the small amount of the message visible in the preview screen looks suspicious, I delete the message without opening it.

I am careful in the sites I visit. I do not visit random sites that have content I’m not familiar with.

If I sign up for something on a site, I check the content of the sign-up form very carefully to make certain I’m not downloading adware, extra and unnecessary tools for my browser, etc.

I use the Internet a lot, but I remain cautious before I click any link on any site.

My questions to the users here who know a lot about keeping a computer and ourselves secure on the Internet are many.

What basic information does a person need to know about using a computer on the Internet?

What are some basic things a person can do to remain secure?

Are some email account providers safer than others?

Is one browser safer than another?

What questions should we be asking ourselves about Internet and computer security that I’ve missed here?

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johnpowell's avatar

Actually, you pretty much already do everything that I suggest that people do. You are the 1% for internet security.

Some extras I might add. Disable/Remove JAVA (not to be confused with javascript). And make sure to set your browser to make it so you need to click on a Flash object for it to play. Info Here

pleiades's avatar

If we want to take to the far extreme my recommendation would be to legally change the last name and update social security card. Create an extremely unique last name and it becomes easier if frauded to settle situations with banks and credit cards because they don’t have to trace back and verify you’re the only Johnson, Williams, James, Rodgers etc.

hominid's avatar

Do not allow your browser to remember passwords. Use LastPass or another properly-vetted password manager, and generate huge, strong passwords for all sites.

ragingloli's avatar

Do not download things that you do not know are safe.
Do not open attachments of mails whose sender you do not know, and even then, use a virus scanner.
Do not use real personal information when creating accounts, especially not your address or phone number. Enter a phonesex number instead.
Do not use your birthday or anything related to your person as a base for passwords, and do not use the same password for everything.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Sounds like you are doing pretty well. If you want to feel like you’re doing more, spend some time learning what steps to take once you actually get a virus. Think how you’d react, what hardware and what information you’d need to fix it. Make sure you know how to boot into safe mode – on some computers, it’s not obvious. Who would you go to for information, and how would you reach them if you can’t use the computer under attack? How would you download software if you can’t get online or can’t use a search engine? And remember to back up any data you want to keep, just in case you end up losing it.

Smitha's avatar

Back up your data, it keeps your data safe. I always come across these annoying web pop ups that state your computer is infected. If you see these types of advertisements, just close your browser to close the message. Always create strong passwords and change them regularly. Also check your online account statements frequently.

CocoSmith's avatar

Some interesting tests online aim at stealing users’ personal information. Watch out for such scams and don’t be fooled by them.

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