Dos & Don'ts

Internet Security DOs

  • Do type in a website address directly into your Web browser.
  • Do make sure the website you enter personal information into is securely encrypted.
  • Do create and memorize strong passwords that are at least eight characters long, and include at least a numerical value and a symbol, such as #, to foil password-cracking software. Avoid common words and never disclose a password online.
  • Do change your password every few months.
  • Do log out of a website and close the browser when your session is complete.
  • Do use personal firewalls, antivirus and antispyware software programs, and update them on a regular basis to recognize the latest threats.
  • Do regularly update your operating system, Web browser, and other major software, using the manufacturers' update features, preferably using the auto update functionality.
  • Do close windows containing pop-up ads or unexpected warnings by clicking on the "X" button in the upper most right hand corner of that window, not by clicking within the window.
  • Do perform regular backups of important data.

Internet Security DON'Ts

  • Don't blindly click and follow links in an e-mail or unfamiliar website.
  • Don't enter personal information into a website if it is not securely encrypted, or you are unsure if it is securely encrypted.
  • Don't create common passwords such as your name, Social Security Number (SSN), birthdates, children or pet names, addresses, etc.
  • Don't write down your password, especially on a Post-It note and stick it on or near your computer!
  • Don't give out your password to anyone, whether you know them or not.
  • Don't select the "Remember My Password" option. Many applications do not store them securely.
  • Don't reply to spam or click on its "unsubscribe" link. It only informs the sender that your e-mail address is valid.
  • Don't open an e-mail attachment, even from someone you know well, unless you were expecting it.
  • Don't reply to e-mail(s) requesting financial or personal information.
  • Don't click on the close button within pop-up ads or windows.
  • Don't set your e-mail program to "auto-open" attachments.
  • Don't download files, including software, from the Internet without using antivirus and antispyware software programs to help protect you from viruses, spyware, key loggers, etc.