60 - Internet and online security
addresses that are entirely numbers where there are normally
words, and anything else out of the ordinary. Additionally, phishing
messages will often tell you that you have to act quickly to keep your
account open, update your security, or urge you to provide
information immediately or else something bad will happen. Don't
take the bait.
• Don't respond to email messages that ask for personal
information. Legitimate companies will not use email messages to
ask for your personal information. When in doubt, contact the
company by phone or by typing in the company Web address into
your Web browser. Don't click on the links in these messages as
they make take you to fraudulent, malicious Web sites.
• Steer clear of fraudulent Web sites used to steal personal
information. When visiting a Web site, type the address (URL)
directly into the Web browser rather than following a link within an
email or instant message. Fraudsters often forge these links to
make them look convincing.
A shopping, banking or any other Web site where sensitive
information should have an "S" after the letters "http" (i.e. https://
www.yourbank.com not http://www.yourbank.com). The "s" stands
for secure and should appear when you are in an area requesting
you to login or provide other sensitive data. Another sign that you
have a secure connection is the small lock icon in the bottom of your
web browser (usually the right-hand corner).
• Pay attention to privacy policies on Web sites and in software.
It is important to understand how an organization might collect and
use your personal information before you share it with them.
• Guard your email address. Spammers and "phishers" sometimes
send millions of messages to email addresses that may or may not
exist in hopes of finding a potential victim. Responding to these
messages or even downloading images ensures you will be added
to their lists for more of the same messages in the future. Also be
careful when posting your email address online in newsgroups,
blogs or online communities.
Online offers that look too good to be true usually are
The old saying "there's no such thing as a free lunch" still rings true
today. Supposedly "free" software such as screen savers or smileys,