Online Safety Tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance Network (NCSA)
Own Your Online Presence
Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
Be aware of what’s being shared: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
Share with care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future.
Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that's an available option.
Protect all devices that connect to the internet: Along with computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. You can alternatively use a service like a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
Get two steps ahead: Turn on two-step authentication – also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – on accounts where available. Two-factor authentication can use anything from a text message to your phone to a token to a biometric like your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.
Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.
Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal information.
Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Safer for me, more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
Post only about others as you have them post about you: The Golden Rule applies online as well.
Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances, identities, and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.
Mobile Device Safety Tips
Secure your devices: Use strong passwords, passcodes or touch ID features to lock your devices. These security measures can help protect your information if your devices are lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out.
Now you see me, now you don't: Some stores and other locations look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are in range. Disable WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use.
Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your mobile device while you are connected. Limit what you do on public WiFi and avoid logging into key accounts like email and financial services on these networks. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection on the go.
Keep your mobile phone and apps up to date: Your mobile devices are just as vulnerable as your PC or laptop. Having the most up-to-date security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware or other online threats.
Delete when done: Many of us download apps for specific purposes and no longer need them afterwards. It's a good security practice to delete apps you no longer use.