Cyber safety awareness is important. As technology use increases at home, at school and at work, it’s important for all residents to follow safety precautions online and to understand and detect threats.
Many local organizations provide training sessions. Here are two:
- U of MN Computer Technology Services offers free Computer Maintenance and Internet Safety classes. See training calendar for classes and call 612-624-3478 to register.
- Project for Pride in Living Learning Center offers free Computer Basics classes. The Computer Basics 3 - Internet course includes Internet safety. See training calendar for classes and call 612-455-5300 to sign-up.
Cyber Safety Made Easy
Keep Your Computer Safe
- Keep your security software updated and it should be set to auto-update and periodically scan your computer for viruses.
- Keep your operating system and all your software/applications updated too. You can set your operating system to update automatically, but also be sure to check that your browser and all other software especially Flash, Java, and Acrobat Reader, if you have them installed-are completely up to date.
- Never install software from an untrusted source. Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of/no matter who sent them. These files-which might look like innocent Word documents, pictures, or sound files-can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.
- Back up your valuable files and photos on a regular basis using CDs/DVDs, USB flash or "thumb" drives, an external hard drive, or an online service.
- For more information on how to keep your computer safe visit www.onguardonline.gov
Protect Your Personal Information
- Use long and strong passwords - The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
- Don’t use same passwords for different online accounts
- Don’t share your account passwords and don't use the same passwords for different online accounts, especially banking,eCommerce, and email accounts.
- Don’t respond to requests for personal information unless you fully trust the source
- Use a password or personal identification number (PIN) on your mobile device
- It’s ok to write down your passwords - Just make sure you put your written reminder in a safe place and away from your computer.
Keep Your Identity Safe
The Federal Trade commission serves as an excellent resource for safeguarding your identity online. Visit the Identity Theft Awareness
Beware of Scams
- Scammers use email, online ads, popups, and search results to find their victims. This is called “Phishing” and criminals use the information to commit identity theft. Examples of phishing messages
- Scammers impersonate legitimate businesses, and even friends and family to trick you
- If you weren’t expecting it, check it out before responding. If it looks suspicious, it probably is
- Don’t do business with organizations you’ve found online until you verify they are legitimate. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is
- Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls requesting personal information or remote access to your computer
- Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text.
- Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information
- See some common online scams
- For more information on how to avoid scams visit www.onguardonline.gov
Connect with Care
- Look for web addresses with “https://”. The “s” stands for secure which means the site takes extra measures to keep your information safe.
- Secure your home wireless network with a password and WPA2 encryption.
- Don’t connect to unfamiliar wireless networks.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails your receive, regardless of who sent them. Unexpected files may contain malware.
- Use your browser’s privacy and security settings, such as pop-up blockers
- Use the privacy settings on your social networks to control who can see your personal information. Don’t post information about being out of town which could indicate that your house is vacant.
- See security tips for using public Wi-Fi networks at OnguardOnline.gov
- Watch your links:
- If you have a question about a link on a website, put your mouse over the link without clicking. Your browser should show you the actual address of the web page where the link will take you. If everything looks OK, you can then click on the link.
- Is it the official site? Example:
- [email protected] = good
- [email protected] = bad
Talk with Your Kids
- These safety and security tips apply to computer and Internet users of all ages. Get your kids involved with cyber safety so they understand the risks. Make sure they know not to share passwords and personal information and to beware of scams or malware advertised as "free” stuff.
- Look for teachable moments — if you hear about a scam or get a phishing message, use it as an example with your kids.
- For more ways on how to talk with your kids visit www.onguardonline.gov
Help Your Community
- Share cyber safety tips with your friends, family and neighbors. Download or print the cyber safety flyer (PDF) .
- Report cyber crime: Complaints are an essential resource for local, state, and federal law enforcement officials. Law enforcers review consumer complaints to spot trends and build cases against hackers, identity thieves, scam artists, and other fraudsters
- File cyber crime reports with the Minneapolis Police Department so that cases in Minneapolis can be addressed and documented. Reports can also be submitted to www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center) and the Federal Trade Commission www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Last updated Oct 15, 2018