Certain behaviors online may not seem like much, but you can easily become a target for fraud if you’re not careful with where you share your personal information. Awareness on how to navigate the web safely is a key element to personal cyber security. Sharing your personal information must always be done securely, and with reliable parties.
If a site is offering something extravagant in exchange for personal information you should probably steer clear. A common scenario are sites that offer free downloads for desktop images and screen savers in exchange for email addresses and phone numbers. There are many images and screen savers freely available that do not require this type of exchange. Understanding the risks and recognizing the red flags will help you make informed decisions on how and where you should share your information.
Connecting to the Wi-Fi, especially one that does not require a password at a public space like your local coffee shop or a hotel, can pose some security risks. Unlike our Wi-Fi at home, public networks are typically unsecured. Depending on the sites you visit should be a level of caution when using public Wi-Fi.
Step by step guide on how to disable file sharing on Mac and PC
For a PC:
1. Go to Network and Sharing Center
2. Select Change advanced sharing settings
3.Turn off file and printer sharing
1. Go to System Preferences
2. Go to Sharing
3. Unselect everything
4. Now go to Finder
5. Select AirDrop
6. Choose Allow me to be discovered by: No One
Publication Date: 2019
This guide offers information on privacy and general safety while navigating the web. It offers an overview on some of the common threats and how to deal with them.
Publication Date: 2017
This book offers a thorough explanation of computing and communicating safely for non-technical readers.
An important element to personal cyber security is ensuring your web browsing is secure.
One way to do this is by making sure the websites you visit and enter information into are secure:
Wired. (2016). Google’s chrome hackers are about to upend your idea of web security. https://www.wired.com/2016/11/googles-chrome-hackers-flip-webs-security-model/
Screenshot Captured by Vanessa Castaldo (2020)
Another way to confirm a website connection is secure is to look at the navigation bar in the web browser:
SeoPressor Blog (2019) HTTP vs. HTTPS: The difference and everything you need to know. https://seopressor.com/blog/http-vs-https
Another way to ensure safe web browsing is to install a web browser plug-in to prevent advertisers and third parties from tracking your activity. One option is Privacy Badger developed by the non-profit organization Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you’ve ever browsed a product online and then later on seen it appear as an ad on other websites, then your browsing activity has been tracked. Privacy Badger stops advertisers from loading more content across pages that you visit. For more information on Privacy Badger click here.
Privacy Badger can be downloaded for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2020). EFF photos. https://flickr.com/photos/electronicfrontierfoundation
As the situation continues to progress Zoom has continued to update some of their security and privacy measures.
Here are some tips on how to navigate through these privacy concerns, reflecting the most current updates:
It’s best to use Zoom on a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone. Mobile applications are subject to a more stringent review process by the Apple and Google app stores
Use Zoom with caution and try not to share sensitive information while in your meetings.
When creating your meeting, make sure the link is only shared with those who are invited
Require a meeting password for your meetings or use the waiting room feature to control the admittance of your guests. This will keep any unwanted parties from entering.
Manage the screen sharing options in your meetings. In the settings change to "Host Only"
If you have been a victim of a Zoom teleconference hijacking report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov
Illustration by Sam Whitney (Wired Article, 2020)
How to Keep Your Zoom Chats Private and Secure - Wired -- A helpful article published by Wired on how to keep your Zoom meetings secure.
Wired. (2020) How to keep your zoom chats private and secured. https://www.wired.com/story/keep-zoom-chats-private-secure
Illustration by EFF (EFF Article, 2020)
Harden Your Zoom Settings to Protect Your Privacy and Avoid Trolls - EEF.org -- This article was published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Zoom settings and how to set up private and secure meetings.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2020). Harden your zoom settings to protect your privacy and avoid trolls. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/04/harden-your-zoom-settings-protect-your-privacy-and-avoid-trolls
The following are some resources available on the web regarding the topic of safe web navigation and online safety.
Department of Homeland Security - Securing Your Web Browser -- This guide offers tips on how to secure your web browser for safe internet navigation. It covers some basic how-to information and also offers more advanced resources on how to keep your computer secure.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (2015). Securing your web browser. https://www.us-cert.gov/publications/securing-your-web-browser
Illustration by Safety Detectives (Safety Detectives Article, 2018)
The Ultimate Internet Safety Guide for Seniors - SafetyDetectives.com -- This guide offers more tips and guidelines for safe web navigation. It also offers information on ad blockers, antivirus software and common scams.
Safety Detectives. (2018). The ultimate internet safety guide for seniors. https://www.safetydetectives.com/blog/the-ultimate-internet-safety-guide-for-seniors/
Illustration by HOTLITTLEPOTATO (Wired Article 2018)
How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi - Wired -- This article from Wired offers some simple steps on what else you can do to stay safe on public Wi-Fi.
Nield, D. (2018, August 5). How to stay safe on public wi-fi. https://www.wired.com/story/public-wifi-safety-tips/
Illustration by Mozilla (Mozilla Blog, 2019)
Top 10 Podcast Episodes About Online Privacy - Mozilla -- This list of podcasts was curated by the staff at Mozilla. These podcast episodes explore online privacy and come from a larger catalog of podcasts that cover current tech news and trends.
Smiley, M. (2019, September 19). Top 10 podcast episodes about online privacy. Mozilla Blog. https://blog.mozilla.org/internetcitizen/2019/09/19/top-10-podcast-episodes-about-online-privacy