In the ever changing world we live in, technology is expanding and being used in many different and exciting ways, helping us expand our horizons or sometimes simply have a laugh. New technology is being released all the time letting us access information online and communicate with a whole world of new and exciting people.
Each day we interface with many different forms of technology with the ability to connect and store personal information about you online. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are safe online!
How Can I be Safe?
There are many steps you need to take to help ensure you are safe online, this includes everything from virus protection to checking you have an up-to-date internet browser.
Anti-virus – Check you have anti-virus protection, school staff are entitled to use the school anti-virus software. Students and parents remember there are many free antivirus packages such as ‘Avira AntiVir Personal – FREE Antivirus’ or ‘Avast Home Edition’.
Make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date; most anti-virus programs integrate into Windows and notifies you if it needs updating. If you are using a laptop offline remember to connect it to the internet to update the anti-virus definition regularly. Members of staff using school laptops are in breach of the AUP if they do not update the anti-virus and windows.
Operating system – It is always best practice to ensure that your operating system is up-to date. Operating system manufactures release updates to patch security holes found since the release of their OS. To turn on automatic updates in Windows XP do the following; Start > Control Panel > Security Centre > Turn on Auto Updates.
Internet Browser – A modern browser is integral to your safety online, features such as Phishing* protection, help you to avoid giving out personal information to sites posing as a legitimate site.
Peer 2 Peer and Warez – programs such as KaZaR and Limewire as well as Warez sites are notoriously dangerous and a high risk area for infecting you with viruses and spyware. Whilst they do offer many legal uses, P2P programs generally are used to share illegally ripped movies and music.
Email – Many antivirus programs come with an included plug-in for scanning emails in such programs as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird and The Bat! Additionally online email providers such as Hotmail, Gmail and other web based email systems, such as ones provided by your ISP offer online email attachment virus scanning. But it is always best practice to not open attachments in emails sent by an unknown address’.