Precautions while using websites
What is website
. A website, also written as web site,or simply site,is a set of related web pages typically served from a single web domain. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet address known as a uniform resource locator URL . All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web.
Personal is personal
. To start out with, the precautions to take when practicing online social networking is to keep your personal information personal. This means that any information that will identify you as a real persona and not just a name on the computer. This is your personal information and should not be posted on social networking sites. The information like your full name, your physical address and the routines you have made in you life should be kept away from online social networking.
. While you are limiting the information you post on social networks, you will need to take the precaution of privacy policies when social networking. There are social networks that have very strong privacy setting. Use those setting and make sure that only your friends, people that you personally know, can get to what you post. Also if new people want to be your friend, use great caution.
Make sure they are friendly friends
. The precautions you need to take when you are practicing online social networking are extremely crucial when dealing with strangers, or new friends. When you get a new friend request you need to be very careful. This may be an innocent person who is very honest, but it could be a predator looking to steel you identity of give your computer a virus. You should always scan these emails and any attachments they have before opening them. Always have your firewall on the highest you can to help prevent predators from getting to your information.
What stays posted
. Another precaution to take when practicing online social networking is to limit what you say or post. When you put something, whether it is written word or pictures or whatever, you will want to only post what you wont mind millions of people seeing. Online social networking is not your personal diary. Millions of people can get access to what you post. And what you post will stay online forever. You may delete it, but it has most likely gone on someone elses computer and they will have the ability to put it online again. It never comes off.
Who would want my photo
. One precaution to take to help prevent others from taking your photo is to distort your photos a little bit. You can do this by adding a little fuzz or smearing the photo a little. You dont want your photos to be used by anyone you do not know.
Family and friends
. Also use precaution when you post something about your friends and family when you are practicing online social networking. You should always have your families and friends permission before you post anything about them or any pictures of them. You want to use precautions with yourself and those you are involved with when online social networking.
. Never use the same passwords that you use at work on a social networking site.
Limit usage of social networking
. Limit usage of social networking sites to personal use only. Do not write about work issues. Always assume everyone in the world will be able to see what youre writing even if the site limits your post to your friends exclusively.
. Try to avoid mentioning where you work; so that if you mention something you thought innocent but that might be valuable information for hackers they will not know who to target.
. Do not log on to your social network page from public computers such as internet caf?s where someone might have installed a key logger and would later get access to your credentials.
Do not automatically
. Do not automatically trust that posts are from who they claim they are; if your workmate sends you a private message asking for some confidential information first verify that he/she did really send you that message as their account might have been compromised.
. Do not send confidential information through a social networking site even if someone who has legitimate access to that information asks you to.
. Beware of what links you click and what software you download and install. Do not trust links/software sent by your friends implicitly as they themselves might not be aware it includes malware or their account might have been compromised.
. Always be sceptical and wary. If someone asks to be friends on a social networking site and the profile appears to match a work mate, check personally with that person before accepting him as he could be an imposter. Also be sceptical of any offers or prizes you might have been told you won, they might actually be phishing attacks.
Security implications do these sites present
. Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because.
Remember that the internet is a public resource
. Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can t retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people s machines.
Be wary of strangers
. The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.
Evaluate your settings
. Take advantage of a site s privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile. You can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people. However, there is a risk that even this private information could be exposed, so don t post anything that you wouldn t want the public to see. Also, be cautious when deciding which applications to enable, and check your settings to see what information the applications will be able to access.
Use strong passwords
. Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed. If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.
Check privacy policies
. Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam. Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.
Use and maintain anti virus software
. Anti virus software recognizes most known viruses and protects your computer against them, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage. Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.
Stop websites from tracking you
. It s true, they re watching you. Every time you surf the web even in the privacy of your home your actions are constantly being tracked. For instance, if you have signed in to your Google or Microsoft account, your searches are monitored by Google Search and Bing to serve you tailor made results. If you are window shopping online, the websites you visit leave cookies on your PC, which are used to serve you advertisements throughout your browsing session. Similarly, Facebook recently announced that it would be tracking user s browsing habits.
To avoid being tracked
. Sign out of all your accounts before browsing websites, or using search engines. Uninstall search tool bars that you might have installed. Check the extensions that your browser is running refer to the browser Help section to know more about extensions , and disable the ones that you don t recognize.
Useful browser extensions
. Disconnect: Blocks trackers from popular sites Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari HTTPS Everywhere: Redirects to secure HTTPS versions of sites where possible Chrome, Firefox Adblock Plus: Blocks intrusive ads Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari
Dont post your address online
. If someone has your full name and knows the area where you live, they can find you online. If they can figure out when youll be gone, youre inviting disaster.
Dont provide a minute by minute account of your day
. Keep some things a secret. Telling the world where you are and what youre doing can be used to predict where youll be in the future. If you re excited about an upcoming vacation, keep it to yourself. Criminals use this information to determine the best time to rob your home.
Do not check in to different locations
. Many social media sites offer incentives for visiting certain places and posting your whereabouts online. Keep in mind every time you do this, you tell anyone watching exactly where you are and how far you are away from home.
Remove any geo tagging data
. Your smart phone may have this function without your knowledge. There are numerous online websites that help you do this for your phone. Just search online to find one.
Use caution when you click links
. That you receive in messages from your friends on your social website. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in e mail messages.
Know what youve posted about yourself
. A common way that hackers break into financial or other accounts is by clicking the Forgot your password? link on the account login page. To break into your account, they search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, hometown, high school class, fathers middle name, on your social networking site. If the site allows, make up your own password questions, and dont draw them from material anyone could find with a quick search.
Dont trust that a message really is from whom it says its from
. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like theyre from your friends, but arent. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks.
To avoid giving away e mail addresses
. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your e mail address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send e mail messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone youve ever sent an e mail message to with that e mail address. Social networking sites should explain that theyre going to do this, but some do not.
Your personal bookmarks
. If you click a link to your site through e mail or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.
Choose your social network carefully
Social networking site is permanent
. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer.
Be careful about installing extras on your site
. Many social networking sites allow you to download third party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. To download and use third party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the Web.
. The Web hosting requirements for multimedia websites are considerably different from standard sites. The sizes for large media files can add up quickly, and you must have the hosting capacity to store all of your content. If you plan to stream video or audio from the site, your bandwidth requirements will be higher. A significant amount of traffic can cause you to outstrip the alloted bandwidth on a standard hosting plan, which will make the site crash. When in doubt, call your hosting provider, explain your site requirements and ask about recommended hosting plans.
. When you are managing a variety of multimedia files, it is important to ensure that each file has a size that will work on a website. Video files, for example, can have extremely large file sizes that are impossible to stream over an Internet connection. The same applies to streaming audio. Large photos, illustrations and graphics can slow the load time for each page, forcing users to wait and increasing the risk that they will leave your site in frustration.
. Optimized content is an important part of controlling the format and file size of your multimedia files. When creating video, animation or music files, choose export settings that are designed for Web streaming. Most editing programs have a range of preset export options to choose from. Save image files at the pixel size that you will use on the website and set the resolution to 72 dpi. Larger resolutions will not make a visual difference and will slow load times.
Copyright And permissions
. Once you publish multimedia content on the Internet, it becomes subject to copyright and permissions laws. To protect your legal standings, take precautions to ensure that your content does not violate the rights of an individual or organization. Verify that you have the rights to use content, including music tracks, video clips, logos and images. If you interview subjects for video or audio content, obtain signed releases before putting it online.
. The Company assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any trouble, loss or damage resulting from use of information on the Website or the Website.The Company pays close attention to information on its Website so as to protect against any errors and omissions, etc. However, inaccurate description or inappropriate information such as misprints may be included in information on the Website, and the Company shall not guarantee such accuracy and completeness. Also the Company assumes no esponsibility whatsoever for any failures caused by improper operation of a computer, falsification of data by a Third Party or downloading of data from the Website for any reason whatsoever.
. Encryption is a method of turning data into something, which, if it was intercepted, would be impossible to read. A program which decrypts the data using a key is needed to unlock the real meaning of the data. Data which is sent to banking websites is encrypted with very secure methods.
. Secure Sockets Layer SSL is the leading security protocol on the internet. This is a method of creating encrypted connections for sending personal data. If you have ever used online banking, or purchased items online, then an SSL connection is created.
. A firewall controls incoming and outgoing traffic. It checks the data to see if it should be allowed through or not. The user can alter a firewall to block or allow certain websites.
. This is a suite of programs that provides protection against different malware. It will contain a firewall, virus scanner, pop up blocker and anti phishing components. It is a one stop shop against all of the security risks we face online.
They must have a backup system in place
. The backup system must be automating daily backups and you will need easy access to the backups in case you need to do a site restore. Recommend they set their site up on ManageWP or offer to set them up on your account or use BackupBuddy or VaultPress, all of which are tailor made for WordPress. Make sure you dont collect login info to anything they own until they confirm their site is being backed up! You do not want anyone to be able to point fingers at you if anything goes wrong, just because you had access, even if it wasnt you who did the deed. Its not worth the pocket change to take on a job without this requirement.
. Compromised laptops and other devices may also be connected to the local network. When connecting, be sure to select the Public network Wi Fi option in Windows and not the Home network or Work network options. The Public network option locks down the connection, ensuring Windows isnt sharing any files or other sensitive data with the machines on the local network.
Rotate all passwords
. All passwords including FTP, database and of course site admin passwords should be updated on a regular basis. We recommend monthly if you access your website regularly.You should also have a reasonable password policy in place that includes passwords must not be re used, do not use the same password for everything, make sure passwords are a minimum of 8 characters and is a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols.
Backup your files
. It is important that you dont just rely and assume your hosting provider will have a backup of your website that they can immediately recover for you, especially at no charge. Generally speaking hosting providers do backup data, but they do this in the case of a disaster they are able to get all customers back online. The backup sizes dealt with are in the many many Terrabytes and for them to delve into those archives, find files for an individual user, quite often from a specified date, takes time and requires qualified systems administrators to do the work, often requiring them to stop doing other tasks to complete the recovery request. This is why most hosts charge you to recover data. So we strongly recommend that you backup. A simple task that will save you a lot of headaches later.
Scan local machine for malware
. A majority of customers that have been victim to a hack have had no security products installed on their machines and those that do more often than not forget to update their software. It is important to make an informed purchase by discussing your specific needs with various vendors. Ensure that its set to automatically scan your machine each day. Ensure that at least each week it connects to the vendors site and updates itself with new libraries of virus and malware definitions.
Unscrupulous domain name registrars
. A related issue to domain name front running is that of unscrupulous domain registrars. Recently a domain name registrar was found to have registered every domain name that was entered into their search box. If you go to that registrar simply to check whether a domain name was available, your domain name will be instantly snapped up by them. Unlike the alleged domain name front runners, however, their operation is designed to be more anti competitive than anything else. You can still register the domain name at their advertised price which is more expensive than most other registrars , but only with them. No other registrar will allow you to buy that name, since as far as they are concerned, the domain name has already been bought.
Change your password regularly
. Have you been using the same password for months, even years? Its important you change your password every couple of months or so. Plus, make sure the passwords you use are hard to crack. Dont use dictionary words, family names, or easily guessable words. Always use a combination of letters and numbers, and for maximum protection, and if allowed, also use symbols in your password.
Monitor your site often
. The sooner you know youve been hacked, the faster you can react to it. So make sure you check your website on a regular basis. I use my two sites as my default website in the two browsers I use most often.If you prefer to pay someone to do it, the website SiteUptime will monitor your site for free every 30 minutes and send you an email alert if your site becomes unavailable they also have pay plans that offer more comprehensive monitoring .
Keep your software up to date
. If you use WordPress, youve probably been greeted by a message that says, WordPress ?Version Number is available. Please update now. These updates often include security fixes, so its important you update to the latest version as soon as possible.
Be cautious of third party scripts
. Before installing a widget, visitor counter, or an ad network, make sure the creator/provider is reputable. For example, do they have a website with contact information? Are they popular with other webmasters? Are there any comments about their service from satisfied users? Taking the time to make sure no one else has had any issues with them is worth it.
Be careful when using public Wi Fi
. If you use public Wi Fi, always verify that you are indeed connecting to the right network. Some hackers set up their own wireless network in hope youll mistakenly connect to them ? which can give them access to all your passwords and personal information on your computer. Plus, its a good rule of thumb to be very careful of what information you share when connected to public networks.
Take your site down immediately
. If possible, take your site down as soon as you can. This will prevent someone landing on your site from being infected by any malware the hackers may have embedded into your site.
Stop all advertising
. If you do online advertising to draw people to your site, such as PPC ads, Facebook ads, Yahoo Search Marketing, stop them immediately. Youll be wasting your money, plus the less people you have visiting your site, obviously the better.
Assess the damage
. For your own peace of mind, you should try to determine the hackers motives. Was he just hacking your site for kicks . was he looking for sensitive information . or was he trying to use your site to infect your visitors with malware? What files are corrupted or missing? Determine what files you need to re upload to your site to get your site up and running again.
Put a recovery plan into action
. If you have a complete and recent backup, to be on the safe side, you may want to delete all your online files and restore your site from your backup. Remember to scan you backup files to ensure they are also not infected.
Create a Google Alert about your site
. Set up a Google alert using your site name and URL. This way, you can monitor and respond to comments about your sites situation.
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