Stay Safe Online

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015



As Cybersecurity Month draws to a close, this week we’ll talk about mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are as powerful and connected as any PC or laptop, and nearly everyone has one. Take the same precautions on your mobile device as you do on your computer with regard to messaging and online safety.

Keep a Clean Machine

Mobile devices are computers with software that need to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Security protections are built in and updated on a regular basis. As cyber-based threats evolve, it’s critical to stay current. Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer. 

  • Keep security software current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware. As many services can use shared accounts across devices, it’s important to know that a lack of security on one device will lead to a security compromise on other devices.

Protect Your Personal Information

Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and. potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer.

  • Secure your phone: Use a strong passcode to lock your phone. Change it periodically.
  • Think before you app: Review the privacy policy and understand what data (location, access to your social networks) the app can access on your device before you download. Many apps have settings enabled by default you may want to turn off, always check after an installation.
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission. Avoid posting it on social networking sites.
  • Learn how to disable the geotagging feature on your phone at

Connect with Care

Use common sense when you connect. If you're online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.

  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone. Always opt for secure wifi networks whenever possible, such as at your home or business. While hotels and coffee shops often have free WiFi, one should avoid using such networks for sensitive activities, such as banking or work.
  • Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://," which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.
  • When in doubt, don't respond: Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or for immediate action are almost always a scam.

Be Web Wise

Stay informed of the latest updates on your device. Know what to do if something goes wrong. 

  • Careful when globetrotting: Be careful of navigating to web addresses for sites housed in foreign countries. Domains ending in “.ru”, “.is”, “.cn”, and the like have the potential to contain malware or viruses. If it looks especially fishy, close your browser.
  • Know how to cell block others: Using caller ID, you can block all incoming calls or block individual names and numbers.
  • Use caution when meeting face-to-face with someone who you only "know" through text messaging: Even though texting is often the next step after online chatting, it does not mean that it is safer.

Be a Good Online Citizen

It is easy to say things via phone or text message that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy online as they would in the real world.

  • Safer for me and more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone - at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Text to others only as you would have them text to you.
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.
  • Get permission before taking pictures or videos of others with your phone: Likewise, let others know they need your permission before taking pictures or videos of you.