Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but they’re often not secure. When using a hotspot, it’s best to send information only to websites that are fully encrypted.
You can be confident a hotspot is secure only if it asks you to provide a WPA password. If you're not sure, treat the network as if it were unsecured. Here's what you should do.
You’ve probably learned a long list of important safety and privacy lessons already: Look both ways before crossing the street; buckle up; hide your diary where your nosy brother can’t find it; don’t talk to strangers.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, is urging kids to add one more lesson to the list: Don’t post information about yourself online that you don’t want the whole world to know. The Internet is the world’s biggest information exchange: many more people could see your information than you intend, including your parents, your teachers, your employer, the police — and strangers, some of whom could be dangerous.
- Before you start playing, be sure your computer has an activated security suite: a firewall, anti-spyware software, and anti-virus software.
- Use a strong password for your gaming accounts. Be sure your password has at least eight characters and uses numbers, letters, and symbols.
- If another player is making you feel uncomfortable, tell a trusted adult. Remember that you can always kick a player out of the game if they are making you uncomfortable.
- Learn how to block and/or report another player if they are making you uncomfortable. Keep a record of what the other player said, but do not engage them.
- Never reveal your real name, location, gender, age, or any other personal information. Keep your user name vague.
- Use an avatar rather than an actual picture of yourself.
- Do not present yourself as dating material.
- Do not use a web-cam while playing an online game.
- Do not accept downloads from strangers. This includes cheat programs that may claim to help you perform better in a game, but really could be carrying malware.
- Do not send out materials to fellow gamers that contains personal information and/or data.
- Do not meet a stranger from your gaming world in person. People are not always who they say they are.
Visit StaySafeOnline.org for more tips!
Before your kids start playing, be sure your computer has an activated security suite: a firewall, anti-spyware software, and anti-virus software.
- Be sure your kids have strong passwords for their gaming accounts. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and contain letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Let your kids know they can come to you if they feel playing a game.
- Participate in the game with your kids.
- Make sure your kid knows how to block and/or report a cyberbully. Tell them to keep a record of the conversation if they are being harassed and encourage them not to engage the bully.
- Make sure your child’s user name does not give away their name, location, gender, age, or any other personal information. (Examples: beach01, book2).
- Make sure your kids use an avatar, not an actual picture of themselves.
- If your kids are playing a game that features live voice chat, make sure they are disguising their voice. If the game does not have this feature, do not let them use voice chat.
- Limit their time playing games.
- Make sure you read and understand the ratings for the games that your children are playing.
- Some game sites have multiple games with different ratings, so check all of them.
- Keep the computer out in the open so that you can monitor your kids’ online activities.
- Make sure your kids know that they may not send out any materials to fellow gamers that contain private information and/or data.
- Use built-in parental controls on your Web browser.
- Don’t let your children download anything without your express permission. This includes cheat programs that may claim to help your child perform better in the game, but really could be carrying malware.
- Remember that prohibition won't work. Your children will use computers and games consoles, even if it's at school or at friends' houses. If you talk to your kids about risks and good judgment, they will be able to get a lot more out of the web.
Thanks to StaySafeOnline.org for the tips!
The Internet is an amazing resource for parents. A world of parenting information is just a search engine away! But it’s easy to become lost and confused—there are just so many Web sites out there. How do you know if you can trust what you read? Anyone can publish anything on the World Wide Web. There’s no quality control. Many sites are pushing an agenda, and others are trying to sell a product. Some are just plain wrong.
UM linked what they consider to be the most trustworthy sites on the Web for information for parents.
By Lesley Fair
What’s in your file cabinet right now? Tax records? Payroll information? And what’s on your computer system? Financial data from your suppliers? Credit card numbers from your customers? To a busy marketer, those documents are an everyday part of doing business. But in the hands of an identity thief, they’re tools for draining bank accounts, opening bogus lines of credit, and going on the shopping spree of a lifetime — at the expense of your company, your employees, and the customers who trust you.
Sophisticated hack attacks make the headlines, but many security breaches could be prevented by commonsense measures that cost companies next to nothing. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has publishedProtecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business, a plain-language handbook with practical tips on securing sensitive data. The specifics depend on the size of your company and the kind of information you have, but the basic principles remain the same. Whether you work for a multinational powerhouse with branches around the world or a start-up based in a home office, a sound information security plan is built on these five key practices:
- Take stock. Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computer. Understand how personal information moves into, through, and out of your business and who has access — or could have access to it.
- Scale down. Keep only what you need for your business. That old business practice of holding on to every scrap of paper is “so 20th century.” These days, if you don’t have a legitimate business reason to have sensitive information in your files or on your computer, don’t keep it.
- Lock it. Protect the information you keep. Be cognizant of physical security, electronic security, employee training, and the practices of your contractors and affiliates.
- Pitch it. Properly dispose of what you no longer need. Make sure papers containing personal information are shredded, burned, or pulverized so they can’t be reconstructed by an identity thief.
- Plan ahead. Draft a plan to respond to security incidents. Designate a senior member of your team to create an action plan before a breach happens.
Get your copy of Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business at business.ftc.gov. While you’re there, download copies for your IT manager, your human resources department, your sales staff, and anyone else who comes in contact with customer or employee information.
Lesley Fair is an attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection who specializes in business compliance.
Cyber-Criminal Interactive Game, by OnGuardOnline
5 Social Media Tips for Small Business, by Bankrate.com
- Full Study
- Fact Sheet
- Small businesses can find basic help online at www.VisaSecuritySense.com as well as more detailed guidance at Visa's cardholder data security site, www.Visa.com/CISP, or at the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council's (PCI SSC) small business site, www.pcisecuritystandards.org/smb.
All music is not always appropriate for all ages. The music industry takes seriously its responsibility to help parents determine what is and is not appropriate for their children. That's why the record companies created the Parental Advisory Label Program. This program is a tool to help parents make the choice about when -- and whether -- their children should be able to listen to a particular recording. Music can be a tremendous tool in fostering dialogue and understanding across generations. Through music, parents or other adults can tune into what kids are thinking and feeling. We need to pay attention to the music children choose and ask questions: why do they like a certain song or album? What do they think the artist is saying? When these opportunities to talk openly are seized, parents, kids AND music are best served.
Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America
Click here for information on the Parental Advisory from the RIAA.
Remember that phrase from your own childhood? It’s still a valid question, but now, it comes with a twist:
“Do you know where your kids are — and who they’re chatting with online?”
Social networking sites have morphed into a mainstream medium for teens and adults. These sites encourage and enable people to exchange information about themselves, share pictures and videos, and use blogs and private messaging to communicate with friends, others who share interests, and sometimes even the world-at-large. And that’s why it’s important to be aware of the possible pitfalls that come with networking online.