Links can be misleading. Before clicking on a link, take another look.

Don’t just click on links that you have received through email or instant messenger. Even if the link text looks like a URL, the link could be going somewhere else. Instead, move your mouse pointer over the link without clicking on it. Look at where the link is going in the status bar. If the link is not going where it should be or is pointing to a file (such as a .exe), don’t click on the link.

Sensitive data can become vulnerable when accessed through public computers.

Whether you are in a café or a hotel’s business center, the computers you use may not be secured properly. The computers in these public centers may be infected with malicious software or could otherwise have serious security vulnerabilities. You may even accidentally leave confidential or sensitive information on the computer after you’re done. Only use your own computer when you
need to work away from the office.

Scams may be disguised as investment opportunities. Be skeptical of investment opportunities through email.

If you receive an unsolicited investment opportunity through email, it’s very likely a fraud. These scams often claim to be able to make you large amounts of money in short amounts of time or with a very small initial investment. You should ignore any investment opportunities that you have not inquired directly about. If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

Pass phrases are more secure than traditional passwords. Use long pass phrases when securing sensitive data.

A pass phrase is a long phrase that is used in place of a password, such as “IamGoingtoEataPie!” Pass phrases are easier to remember than traditional passwords and more difficult for a hacker to guess. Use proper capitalization and punctuation in your pass phrase to increase its complexity and make it even more secure. Use a phrase that you’ll find easy to remember and resist the urge to write it down or store it in a computer file.

Hackers can take control of a computer and use it for their own purposes. Keep your computer secured and learn to recognize the signs of infection.

A virus or malicious program may not directly damage your computer but may instead turn it into a zombie. A zombie computer is a computer that a hacker can direct to complete certain tasks, such as attacking another target. Always keep your devices secured with antivirus protection to avoid this and complete a full system scan if you suspect your computer has been compromised. A compromised computer may begin running sluggishly, start crashing or begin performing tasks on its own.

Identity thieves often target large retail chains to steal customer data. Pay attention to any data breaches.

Identity thieves may break into the computer systems of large retail chains and steal consumer data, such as credit card information or other personal information. To protect yourself, you should keep current on the news. If a chain that you shop at has been breached, your data is likely not safe. You should take immediate action to protect yourself, such as freezing your credit report.

SMishing is a type of phishing done by mobile phone. SMishing is just as dangerous as phishing: learn to recognize the signs.

SMiShing involves text messages sent to you in an attempt to get you to visit a link or send personal or confidential data to the sender. The text message may claim to be from your cell phone provider and request your payment information, or may prompt you to click on a link and fill out a form to gain access to a prize. You should delete any unsolicited text messages; they are almost always attempts to gain personal or confidential data from you.

Printed documents need to be protected just like the originals. Keep them secured when working from home.

When working remotely from home you may occasionally need to print out workplace information. Printed workplace documents must be protected with the same levels of data security as the originals. The same destruction rules apply to a copy. Workplace documents should be shredded after they have been used and should never be left in public areas.

Con artists may approach you with free prizes that require hidden fees.

If you have won a free prize, the prize should be entirely free. Con artists may attempt to scam you out of money by claiming that you have won a prize but that you need to pay government taxes or customs fees on the value of the item. You will either never receive the item or end up paying more than the item is truly worth. If someone offering you a prize tells you that you need to pay them for taxes, shipping or any other hidden fees, it is a scam. Stop all communication.

Scammers may target you through social media accounts. Don’t accept friend or connection requests from individuals you don’t know.

Con artists and identity thieves may conduct scams through social media accounts. They may befriend you so that they can get enough information about you to steal your identity. They may even try to access your friend list so that they can attempt to scam your family and friends. To protect yourself from this, always make sure that you know someone before adding them to your social media accounts and make sure any sensitive or identifying information about you is hidden from those not on your friend list.

Malware and other security threats can be anywhere on the web. Protect yourself with a web filter.

When browsing the web you may stumble upon a website that contains malware or viruses. You can protect yourself by using a web filter. Web filters scan the websites you view to determine whether they are safe. If the website is not safe, the web filter will block the site and will send you an alert to let you know that the site you’re trying to access could be dangerous. Web filters are often integrated into antivirus solutions as a part of a more comprehensive security system.

Scammers may keep contacting you even after you’ve rebuked them. Block them to reduce the possibility of issues in the future.

Once you have identified someone as a scammer you should block them to prevent them from contacting you again. On most instant messenger services, you can simply right click on the person’s name and then select the “block” option. This will ensure that they cannot contact you or even see you online. You can also block emails by going into your options and adding the person’s email address to your “Blocked Addresses” lists. If you do not block a scammer, they may continue bothering you or sending you potentially harmful files and links.

Anyone with access to your computer or mobile device could potentially infect it with malware. Never let friends or family use your computer.

Friends or family members, especially children, could unintentionally infect your computer or mobile device with malware. When this occurs, all of the data on the computer or device could become compromised. If your computer has access to your workplace information, you should never let anyone else use it. This is true even if you create a guest account for them to use.

Do not write down your passwords on a list.

This list can be lost or stolen giving someone else access to all of your most sensitive information. If you have more passwords than you can remember, an approved password vault application might be a good solution. Contact the IT department to show you how to securely store this sensitive information.

Choose long and complex passwords.

The longer a password is, in most cases, the stronger it is. Use combinations of upper case alpha characters, lower case alpha characters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords. You can generate a password that is easy to remember by using the first letter of each word in a sentence and substituting numbers for words like “to” and “for.” For example, “I enjoy going to the movies twice per month.” would be “Ieg2tmtpm.”

Hover over hyperlinks in email messages to see where they really lead.

A hyperlink that says “Bank.com” could actually lead to another location, because the text of a hyperlink can be anything at all. However, if you hover over the link with your mouse cursor, a tooltip will show the actual destination.

Don’t open windows or prop open external doors unless it is specifically authorized.

Leaving doors or windows open can give attackers access to valuable physical and information assets, and can lead to threats to employee safety. Close and lock open doors and windows, then report the details to management or the security department.

If you see someone without an id or visitor badge, politely escort the person to the security desk for sign in or report it to security right away.

Identification badges help keep criminals and other malicious people out of our facilities by letting everyone know who belongs in our facilities and who doesn’t. By recognizing and reporting anyone who does not have an ID badge, you’re helping keep our facilities safe and secure.

Social networks can be used to spread malware. Never click on unknown links or download files through social media accounts.

Links and files on social networks can include viruses and malware. Never click on links from people that you don’t know and don’t download files that are sent to you through a social media platform. Be skeptical of any links that look unusual, such as a link that comes from someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Even someone you know could have their account hacked and used to
send out malware.

Online auctions can be dangerous. Never give out personal information to a seller on an online auction service.

Sellers on online auction sites may attempt to steal your identity or your other personal information. A seller on an online auction should not need any personal information from you to complete the transaction, send your goods, or receive your payment. The seller should receive all of this information directly from the auction site. Never communicate with a seller outside of the auction
site and never attempt to complete the sale on another site.

Malware may hijack your computer’s webcam. If you notice your webcam’s light on, take action immediately.

Some malware programs will access your computer’s webcam and begin streaming the video without your permission. You can tell whether your webcam is active by looking at the camera’s light; if the camera’s light is on and you are not currently recording, someone else has hijacked your computer. Place a piece of opaque tape over your webcam’s lens immediately and then run a malware scanner to remove the software that is enabling the camera.

Your mother’s maiden name can be used by identity thieves. Make sure you keep it safe.

In addition to passwords and birthdays, your mother’s maiden name can also be used to steal your identity. A mother’s maiden name has long been used as a verification question for financial accounts, and social media has made it so that maiden names are often displayed alongside married names.

Twitter is a completely public social media platform. Never post any personally identifiable information.

Everything you post on Twitter is made public and is indexed by search engines. You should never post information that could be used to identify you on social media accounts, nor should you post any sensitive or confidential workplace information such as information about a client or an account. You should also avoid using a username that might include identifiable information, such as part of your name or your year of birth.

Your email software learns to identify spam. Flag unwanted emails as spam to ensure they are sorted correctly.

Don’t just delete Spam mail. If you flag your spam mail as spam, your email software will move it to your spam folder and will know to mark similar emails as spam in the future. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to look through and sort your emails and will ensure that you don’t accidentally open a spam email that could potentially contain malicious materials.

Public computers may be infected with malware or have other security issues. Never use untrusted computers.

Public computers, such as those at hotel business centers, libraries or Internet kiosks, may not be appropriately secured. They could be infected or have keyloggers on them, which could potentially compromise your data. You could also forget to log out, leaving your account vulnerable to intrusion. To avoid this, don’t log into your account on a public computer. When traveling for work, use your work computer and always use a secured Internet connection.

Fighting back doesn’t work with bullies, especially on the web. Educate your child on the proper responses.

Your child should never attempt to fight back against a cyberbully. There could be legal repercussions and the situation could simply escalate. Everything that is posted on the web will remain on the web forever. Rather than fighting back online, you should work with your child to fight back through the school system and legal channels.

If you suspect your child is bullying others, talk to them now about the consequences of their actions.

Kids don’t always understand the effect they can have on others or the legal consequences of their actions. If you suspect that your child is bullying others online, you should talk to them to determine the extent of the problem. Let them know cyberbullying is a crime and how badly they could hurt others. Consider getting professional help if cyber bullying is a symptom of a larger problem.

Personal firewalls are able to monitor and manage connections to and from your computer.

A personal firewall can reject connections coming into and going out from your computer and will prompt you any time a new connection has been attempted. By using a personal firewall, you can control access to your computer and ensure that programs don’t attempt to send information out when you don’t want them to. Always keep your personal firewall on to maintain security.

Areas that require a badge or key card to access are restricted. Always securely close the door behind you.

Any area that requires security clearance, such as a badge or key card, to access is an area that must be protected from intrusion. You should always make sure that you close the door securely behind you, even if you are going to be going in and out quickly. In the time that it takes you to enter and exit, someone else could do the same.

Social engineers gain your trust then request sensitive information. Always be skeptical of unknown people.

Anyone can call to ask you for sensitive information. Social engineers will often call and pretend to work for your organization. Some of them may even be able to give you details about your department, your position, and the information they need. It’s important to never release any information to someone who you don’t know and who has not had their credentials verified. When
you are talking to a new person, you should verify their identity and get authorization before sharing information.

Identity theft can happen at any time. Check your credit report regularly to protect yourself.

Identity theft is becoming more common and can happen at any time. You can protect yourself from identity theft by checking your credit report on a regular basis. Look for any irregularities and notify credit bureaus at once if you notice anomalies.