Internet and Online Safety

LIBERTY, September 19, 2017 -

Online Shopping:
•Don't give your personal information unless you are absolutely sure that it is safe.
•This means where possible, not giving out your full name, your address, your phone number, your credit card number, your tax file number, or information on your family and friends.
•If you have to give a name to register or login to a forum or for some other online purpose, use a nickname or alias where possible.
•Sometimes you'll want to give personal details, including your credit card number, for shopping on the net. This is OK, as long as the online seller is reputable and has secure shopping facilities.
•Secure shopping means that they use secure servers which receive and store your personal information in encrypted form, so that if anyone intercepts your transaction, they won't be able to decode the data and get your details.
•Secure site pages will have addresses starting with 'https' rather than 'http' (eg. you might browse around their site on unsecured pages, and then when you are ready to make a purchase, you'll be switched to secured pages).

Using Public Computers:
•Be careful using the internet for private communication (including shopping) on computers that are in public locations or used by other people.
•On a public computer, other people might be able to view what you've been browsing or even retrieve your personal details after you have finished.
•People you don't know could simply be watching over your shoulder (very dangerous if you are shopping online).
•The computer could have a keystroke logger, which is a program that records what you type.
•Use a combination of words, letters and symbols in your passwords - try to use at least 16 characters in a 'pass phrase', ie. a sentence rather than a word, to make it hard for someone to 'crack' your password.

Chat Sites:
•Chat sites or forums are OK if they are about sharing information about an everyday hobby or interest. It's best to avoid chats or forums which deal with people's personal issues or problems.
•Always remember that you do not know most of the people, and they can be someone completely different online.
•Never get into a heated argument with someone else on an online form you might find that it escalates into a more serious harassment.
•Be very careful if you want to meet someone you have met online. The person might not be who they say they are.
•Plan to meet in a neutral place, like a café or a place that offers a safe meetup spot with a well-lighted area and cameras. Don't give out your full name or home address.

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