Dear Reader,

So the question remains, how does the private individual stay safe on the internet?

Security intrusions of all kinds happen on a regular basis.  For Example, just recently, a California man hacked into some Facebook accounts of some women and took their personal information. 1 Online bullying is becoming a new form of antisocial behavior as the cloud develops.2

The usual precautions should be taken:

1. Always use virus protection while using the internet.

2. Set up and use your computer as a regular user, not under an administrator account.   This limits the permissions that a virus has access to.

3. If you are the victim of a virus attack and you are not tech-savvy, immediately turn off your computer and take it to a reliable technical repair company.

4.  Use some common sense. Don’t reveal personal information to an unsolicited email.   If you need to go to a website from an email, open a new browser window and type in the URL.

5. The Facebook hacker story above concluded with the common-sense approach that I take to all my public accounts:  Use fake information when you set up your account for identity verification.  For example, if you grew up on Elm Street, say instead that you grew up on “55a55afra55.”1

6. In the event of potential online attacks such as bullying, I would suggest moving the normal defenses online.   Organize your friends to help you out.   If no one is friends with a bully account, it can’t do any damage.   Turn the bully account into administrators.
There are several government websites:

OnGuard Online from the government offers some tips and education for the entire family here.

Deter provides resources to prevent online identity theft.

References and Footnotes:

1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41082627/ns/technology_and_science-security/

2. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41075475/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/

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