Email and instant messaging (IM) is quick, easy and direct but it’s not always secure. Cyber criminals prey on novice users. Become email savvy and IM secure to protect yourself from the latest cyber scams.
- Do not send sensitive photographs, personal, financial or confidential information via email or in an instant message (IM). Ensure that online profiles do not contain personal identifying information such as name, age, date of birth, address, phone number or school name. Use age and gender neutral names.
- EGive your cell number out only to people you know and trust. Never give anyone else’s number out without permission. Do not post your cell phone number online.
- Never take pictures of anyone with your cell phone or camera and post on the internet without their permission.
- Never reply to text messages or open attachments from people you do not know. If in doubt, delete the file and use the telephone. Also, delete online contacts you do not recognize.
- Learn to recognize spam and delete it before reading. Do not forward or reply to spam. Close your email preview panel.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious email links. Not all links are legitimate and they may contain malicious codes like viruses or redirect you to undesirable sites.
- Use a primary email address for friends and family and use a secondary email address for all other purposes.
- When sending emails to multiple recipients, place these personal email addresses in the blind carbon copy (bcc) area. This will prevent exposing their email addresses in cyberspace.
- Invest in an anti-virus program, firewall, spam blocker and anti-spyware technology. Keep these regularly updated to ensure they continue to protect as new technologies evolve.
- Be aware of your family’s email and IM activities. Explain that there is no expectation of privacy online and that children should expect that parents may view their online activities to make sure they are safe. Ensure that rules of good behavior remain intact when on the computer.
by Kathy MacDonald http://gcsc.ca/email-and-instant-messaging/