- Follow the same common-sense rules that you follow in "real life." Do not give out personal information to strangers.
Never tell your computer passwords to anyone who asks for them in a chat room or by instant message. Think very carefully before giving out your real name, address, telephone number, work place, or any other bit of information that someone with evil thoughts could use to hurt you.
- Never give out your social security number.
If you are registering for a service that has a legitimate need for your Social Security number, provide the information through traditional mail.
- Know who you are doing business with.
Check out who you do business with on the internet, just as you would if you were trying to get your lawn mower repaired, looking for someone to do your taxes, etc.
- Be very selective who you give your credit card number to.
Some web sites have set up systems for conducting secure credit card transactions by encrypting your information when you order merchandise. They are probably safer than sites without similar programs. Remember even encrypted can be recieved and decrypted by a professional criminal.
- Do not download file attachments from people you do not know.
This applies both to other web sites and e-mail. Most computer viruses come in the form of executable files. Note if you are logging on the Internet or sharing disk with computers other than your personal PC you should be using a virus protection software. There are several quality programs on the market for personal and professional use. Search engine sites like www.yahoo.com can provide you with several options to chose from.
- Think before you post your e-mail address.
Otherwise your computer may end up being a dumping ground for junk-mail. If you have already become an e-mail junk-mail victim, try contacting your service provider to change your e-mail name and leave no forwarding address. If this is unsuccessful, you may need to change your service provider. Then, let only those you wish to communicate with know your new internet address.
- Be wary of anonymous re-emailers.
If you receive mail from or send mail to an anonymous re-mailer, always remember that there must be a reason that this person is anonymous. It is best to only converse with those with valid E-mail addresses.
- Never give or lend your password to anyone.
Allowing anyone access to you accounts could cause problems for you if they use your account and E-mail address for any illegal activities.
- Change your password frequently.
Current hacker programs on the internet allow hackers to steal your password, thereby allowing them access to your account. By changing your password frequently, you minimize the chances of a hacker gaining access to your account.
- Monitor your access time.
By keeping track of when and how long you were on a computer system, it will be obvious if someone has gained access to your account.
- Virus Protection is a Must.
One of the biggest vernablilities of using the internet and sharing files with others is the transmission of viruses.
What is a computer virus and how do I get one?
A computer virus is a program that makes copies of itself and infects diskettes or files. Computer viruses can spread to other computers and files whenever infected diskettes or files are exchanged. Often infected files come as email attachments, even from people you know. The email senders have no idea that they are passing on a file with a virus in it.
Some computer viruses can erase or change the information stored on your computer, other viruses may do little or no harm to your system. Writing and releasing any virus is prohibited by university policy, and anyone who does so will be held legally accountable for damages.