Don’t Talk to Strangers! – Safe Web Surfing

Posted on April 25th, by Cathy Olsen in Technology Explained, Tutorial. 14 comments


Get your computer protected!

Install some sort of anti-virus or anti-spyware application.  Some anti-virus software can also help you navigate the web and let you know if a website can be trusted.

Stay current with operating and application updates.  See this post.

Have a firewall installed.  Windows comes with a free firewall.  Enable it.

Anti-Virus software labeled ‘Internet Security’ usually comes with a firewall.  Consider buying that type of Anti-Virus solution if you don’t have a firewall.

Keep your Passwords Strong

We are past the days of having the password ‘password123.’  If you want to protect your online accounts, you need a STRONG password.

What is a strong password?

8 to 14 characters, upper and lower case letters and numbers, AND a special character.  WHAT?! How would I ever remember that?  Using a Passphrase helps. A passphrase is where you substitute numbers or special characters for a letter.  2gre@t4you! This password says “Too Great for you!”

Also, do NOT have the same passwords for similar websites.  Gmail, yahoo, hotmail accounts get hacked all of the time.  Once the hacker has access to your e-mail they can see e-mails from your bank and will try the same user and password combination.  You could add a tag line at the end of the strong password to make it easier to remember, Example: 2gre@t4you!gmail 2gre@4you!b@nk, and so on.

TREAT YOUR PASSWORD LIKE LIKE YOUR UNDERWEAR!!  - Don't share it, Don't have it out in the open, and CHANGE it OFTEN!!

Don’t be Click Happy!


Don’t click on ads or pop-ups that say “WINNER!! WINNER!! CLICK NOW!!”  If you do you will be a LOSER.

Don’t open or click on links in e-mails, instant message, or social media from someone that you don’t know.  The link takes you to a website that is loaded with malicious software. Just like we told our kids to not get in a car or get candy from Strangers, warn them, “Don’t open e-mails, download attachments, or click on links from strangers.”

Don’t open or click on “weird” e-mails or Facebook status updates, messages from friends.  Since these free e-mail accounts get hacked all of the time, the hackers use the address book to try hack other accounts.  So if I get an e-mail from my brother-in-law (who NEVER e-mails me) with the subject line of, “Check out my new ride!”  I will pick up the phone and see if he actually sent that e-mail.  If he hasn’t, now he knows that his e-mail account has been hacked.

Facebook scams – I’ve seen people post links to sites that claim to offer free gift certificates to Cheesecake Factory, Costco, Walmart.  THESE are SCAMS!! They are trying to gather information about you!!  I promise!! You are NOT missing out on some great deal!  Don’t click on the link.  Tell your friend that they are mistaken. They are trying to gather information about you!!  I promise!! You are NOT missing out on some great deal!  Don’t click on the link.  Tell your friend that they are mistaken.

Shop Safely

Shop on sites that have encrypted the web traffic.  You can tell by looking at the address bar and seeing ‘https’ and a lock sign.  Also, some websites have pictures with the ‘Verisign Trusted’ logo.  This means that the website security has been reviewed by a third party.

Before you press the purchase button, make sure you read vendor reviews.  How are they at fulfilling shipments? Are the products received as described? I typically buy from Amazon.  If I can’t find something on Amazon, I use a vendor that supports paypal (paypal – commonly used online money transfer system).  This way I don’t have to give my credit card information to random vendors.  Also, around Thanksgiving time, there will be sites that have all of the security features (https, verisign, etc), and they are selling a TV for half the price.  If it is too good to be true, don’t get fooled!  It’s a scam!


Nothing in Life is FREE


Beware of peer-to-peer software. (peer-to-peer software – Any software that allows you to get and share files with other people online).  Remember Nabster?  Current peer-to-peer sites are Limewire, Bittorent, Sharaza, Kazaa, Bearshare.  If you recognize any of those names as installed applications, remove them from your computer.  There may be files (music, videos, games) that your child wanted to get.  However, the files are often included with a FREE gift of pornography or malware.

Beware of free software.  Again, only download software from a trusted source where you can see reviews of the software and make sure that it is ‘clean.’  Look for software at or another site that has legitimate reviews of the software.

14 Responses to “Don’t Talk to Strangers! – Safe Web Surfing”

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