Six tips for staying safe online

Six tips for staying safe online Article By: Megan Ellis.  Available from <>[

More and more people are falling victim to cybercrimes, from downloading malware to falling for phishing scams.

We spoke to Kaspersky Lab Africa’s MD Riaan Badenhorst to find out how users can stay safe online.

Here are six tips for staying safe online.

Encrypt your sensitive information

“If your smart device or computer contains data encryption features, make sure you use them to minimise the chances of your personal information from being lost or stolen,” Badenhorst says.

This can apply to anything from confidential files to pictures you wouldn’t want to show up online.

Various operating systems have some way of encrypting files and a quick internet search can point you in the right direction.

Don’t use unreliable apps

Messenger apps are considered by users to be the most unreliable communication tools, according to Kaspersky Lab research.

However, it’s pretty difficult to avoid using these apps in today’s online world.

Badenhorst suggests only using apps you know that you can trust.

“It is also important that users are careful when choosing online tools for personal communication, and only use a device reliably protected by a password and an Internet security solution,” he says.

Whatsapp this year announced that it had encrypted user messages, meaning that your information is pretty safe. However there are a few unreliable apps out there.

Install an Internet Security app

Badenhorst suggests using internet security apps and programs to protect your devices. There are a variety of options out there with varying levels of security.

Of course, he touts Kaspersky Internet Security for Android as a good option.

“It can help protect your privacy, and safeguard personal data, even if your device is lost or stolen. It also has a function that allows you to protect and track all the data saved on your smartphone – so that it is easily traceable and well protected,” he says.

Create a strong password

This must be the oldest advice in the book, but it’s also the most often ignored advice.

Having a strong password is the first line of defence from having your information accessed without permission.

You should also not use the same password for multiple accounts – after all, this is how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg got hacked earlier this year.

Don’t open suspicious emails

One of the easiest ways hackers can get your personal information is by using email scams. While most of now know not to trust those Nigerian prince requests for help, there are many variations of scams out there.

“In light of emails that claim that you have won the lottery or a certain amount of money due to a competition, if it’s too good to be true – it probably is,” Badenhorst said.

“Remember to NEVER send your personal information via email to anyone you don’t know (not even banks ask for this information via email).”

Also, do not open files or follow links from senders you don’t know – this can often lead to malware being downloaded to your device.

“In most cases, when handling a spam message, the best course of action is to simply delete the message immediately,” Badenhorst says.

Be cautious while shopping online

Online shopping is one of the great things about the internet – but it also comes with risks.

“At Kaspersky Lab we encourage users to check if the URL onto the address bar is correct. Instead of just clicking a link to take you to your chosen retailer’s website, it’s safer to type the retailer’s URL into the address bar on your web browser. It may take a little more effort, but this simple action can help to prevent you visiting a fake or malicious website,” Badenhorst says.

Also, always check when you have to put in any payment information that the URL starts with “https”. Sites that don’t have a valid security certificate won’t have this, or if their security certificate has expired there will be a red line through the “https” to indicate it is not necessarily secure.

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Six tips for staying safe online Article By: Megan Ellis.  Available from <>[

5 tips to keep kids safe online this school year

5 tips to keep kids safe online this school year by Sean Wright, For The Tennessean.  Available from <> [12:49 p.m. CDT September 15, 2016]

As kids go back to school — often with laptops, smartphones and tablets in tow — we’re reminded of both the wonderful opportunities technology offers them and of the dangers it presents. From cyberbullying and sexting to pornography, there is a side of connected life that we want to protect our children from. But where should we start?

The good news is that the right technology can both protect kids and teens from these dangers and facilitate healthy lines of communication about internet safety. Here are five tips for finding and using the right kinds of internet safety tools for your family.

1. Find a good content filter. Simply put, content filters block the bad stuff. These software applications prevent access to websites that contain inappropriate content.

Most content filters give parents granular controls over what kinds of content they wish to block, and many contain age-defined filtering levels. Some solutions, such asOpenDNS, even filter content at the network level, giving parents the ability to filter all web traffic in their home network — on a child’s laptop, tablet, phone or even friends’ devices.

2. Consider monitoring software. Monitoring software facilitates conversation between parent and child about online behavior. These applications report online activity to parents, allowing them to approach their children about dangerous or unhealthy online habits.

Covenant Eyes is a monitoring solution with a monthly flat-rate subscription fee for unlimited devices within a family. The subscription also includes a device-level content filter, which allows parents to protect children even when they access the internet outside of a filtered home network.

3. Understand how these tools work together. Content filters are a necessary first line of defense, protecting against the massive amount of pornographic and otherwise objectionable content on the web. But as advanced as content filters have become, they don’t catch everything. This is where monitoring software is helpful. Sometimes, the best filter is another human being — one who has the best interest of the child in mind and can communicate with and educate the child if his or her online activity becomes problematic.

4. Review parental controls on mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2015 study on the way teens use technology, nearly 75 percent of teens now have a smartphone or access to one. This means that parents need to adapt internet safety strategies to mobile devices as well as computers.

This can be tricky because, unlike traditional computers, smartphones and tablets provide multiple ways of accessing internet content. For instance, on an iPhone, it’s possible to access Facebook, as well as content from the web that people post in a newsfeed, via the Facebook app, which is separate from the phone’s native Safari browser. This makes content filtering and monitoring difficult because there’s no good way to monitor and filter all apps across the board.

Still, when coupled with administrative settings on the device and healthy parent-child communication about app use, filtering and monitoring solutions can make smartphones and tablets relatively safe for kids and teens to use.

Ultimately, parents will need to decide what further controls, if any, should be imposed. On iOS devices, for instance, parents can block access to social media apps, and can require parental permission for all app downloads.

5. Take a holistic approach. Because of the numerous ways kids and teens access the internet and interact on it, it’s critical to think through a holistic strategy that combines content filtering, monitoring software, parental controls and healthy parent-child conversations. Parents should arm themselves with information on the capabilities of internet safety technologies and match those capabilities to what is best for their children.

Sean Wright is founder and president of Affinity Technology Partners, a managed IT services provider in Brentwood. The company specializes in network management, systems administration and network security for small to mid-sized businesses and non-profits. They also provide home users with family internet safety services, wi-fi speed-up and general technology support.  Learn more

(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

5 tips to keep kids safe online this school year by Sean Wright, For The Tennessean.  Available from <> [12:49 p.m. CDT September 15, 2016]