Cyber Safety

Find these tips and many more at the website of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team

Computer Security Tips

1. Physical laptop security

  • Lock it up and don’t leave it out
  • If you do leave it out, lock it down

2. User Account Password

  • Don’t use the default out-of-the-box setting, or “password”, “password1”, or “John3:16”,
  • Change your password (once, twice, thrice a year)
  • Never share your password (really)

3. Keep Up-to-date with Anti-Virus and Spyware applications and OS updates and patches

Set your computer to automatically Accept/Run the critical updates and patches for the Operating System (OS) and Anti-Virus and Spyware applications. Your computer is vulnerable when these applications are out of date - use the latest versions.

4. Firewall

Keep the Firewall enabled - leave it on.

5. Enable the Screen Saver and Screen Saver Lock

  • Set the screen saver to activate and lock after 5, 10, 15 minutes of inactivity
  • Locks the screen so no one can use your computer when you’re not there

6. Back up your data. Back up your data. Back up your data.

Privacy Tips

1. How Anonymous Are You? (not very) Typically this kind of information is collected automatically:

  • IP Address
  • Domain Name
  • OS and Software details
  • Information about the pages you are visiting

2. Choose wisely which websites you visit - malicious sites leave parasites

There’s no such thing as safe anonymous filesharing, Avoid P2P and distributed filesharing. Torrent, Kazaa, Gnutella, Morpheus and at least a dozen other filesharing networks exist. Most are free. And all are rife with trojans, viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and every other form of malicious code imaginable.

3. Personal Information

  • Choose wisely which websites to give out your personal information (address, password, credit card information)
  • Browsing the web? Look for https://, no https://? then enter no personal information

Email Security Tips

Email attacks - More ways to get you to give attackers your personal information.

Address Spoofing

Not all email is who is says it is from, sometime it is forged. Spoofing is a technique commonly used for spam and phishing to hide the origin of an email message. (


Phishing is the fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email. Communications purporting to be from reputable organizations or IT Administrators are commonly used to lure unsuspecting users. Phishing attempts often directs users to send a reply or enter details at a fake website whose appearance is almost identical to the legitimate website expected. (

Hyperlinks and Phishing Attacks

Email scams often place links in messages and they try any number of techniques just to get you to click on the link. Clicking on an unknown link may seem harmless, but it makes you extremely vulnerable. Often email scams rely on placing links in messages that seem to come from a service that you trust, like your bank, credit card company, or social networking site. To make these phishing e-mail messages look even more legitimate, the scam artists may place a link in them that appears to go to the legitimate Web site (1), but actually takes you to a phony scam site (2) or possibly a pop-up window that looks exactly like the official site. (

Email Attachments

Attachments are a highly exploited feature of email to spread malicious code. Know the source of the attachment. If it seems weird - it is, don’t open it, check with the source. (

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