Help your family and neighbors stay safe online
Cyber safety awareness is important, and the City’s 2014 Minneapolis Community Technology Survey shows that only 42 percent of residents overall are “very comfortable” protecting their computers, preventing viruses, backing up files and avoiding scams. While this is two points above last year’s survey, there is still room for improvement. As technology use increases at home, at school and at work, it’s important for all residents to follow safety precautions online and to understand and detect threats.
Here are some basic ways to protect yourself and your computer:
Keep your Computer Safe
• Keep your security software updated. At a minimum, your computer should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
• Never install software from an untrusted source. Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.
Protect Your Personal Information
• Use long and strong passwords - The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
• Don’t share your account passwords and don’t use same passwords for different online accounts.
• Use a password or personal identification number (PIN) on your mobile device.
Beware of Scams
• Scammers use email, online ads, popups, and search results to trick you into sending them money and personal information. This is called “Phishing” and criminals use the information to commit identity theft. Don't reply to text, email, or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information, and don't follow any links in the message. Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls requesting personal information or remote access to your computer.
• If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Connect with Care
• Look for web addresses with “https://”. The “s” stands for secure which means the site takes extra measures to keep your information secure.
• Secure your home wireless network with a password and encryption.
• Use your browser’s privacy and security settings, such as pop-up blockers.
• Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. Unexpected files may contain malware.
• Use the privacy settings on your social networks to control who can see your personal information. Don’t post information about being out of town which could indicate that your house is vacant.
• See security tips for using public Wi-Fi networks and more at www.OnguardOnline.gov.
Help Your Community
• Share cyber safety tips with your friends, family and neighbors. The City would like folks to use National Night Out to talk about cyber safety and help spread the word about how to be safe online. Visit www.minneapolismn.gov/it/inclusion/WCMS1P-111674 to get additional tips on how to stay safe online. On the page, you can also download a flyer to print and share with your friends and neighbors at National Night Out.
• Report cybercrime: Complaints are an essential resource for local, state, and federal law enforcement officials. Law enforcers review consumer complaints to spot trends and build cases against hackers, identity thieves, scam artists, and other fraudsters
File cybercrime reports with the Minneapolis Police Department so that cases in Minneapolis can be addressed and documented. Reports can also be submitted to www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center) and the Federal Trade Commission www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Published Jul 31, 2014