Many misconceptions exist about what constitutes “safety” on the Internet, but don’t believe everything you hear. The bad guys are always looking for an angle, so we cannot become complacent and must always remain vigilant. 

With this said, please review these common Internet safety myths:

  • If I see the lock icon, I am safe.
    • Just because you see the lock icon in your browser, do not assume that your connection is secure. Yes, you want to see this icon to know that the connection is encrypted between your computer and the web server, but the bad guys can use a fake certificate or buy one to use until they get caught. 
  • Only adult sites are dangerous.
    • Just because you do not visit “adult” websites does not imply that you are safe. In fact, more than ¾ of malware-infected sites are legitimate, trusted sites that have been hacked. Navigate the web with caution.
  • There is nothing valuable on my computer.
    • You may not keep important financial or personal information on your computer, but that does not mean that getting hacked would be harmless. In fact, the bad guys can learn a lot about you (browsing habits, social networking behavior, resumes, etc.) and easily steal your identity if they have access to your computer.  In addition, they can cause great harm by accessing your email in order to launch phishing attacks on others, or they could log into your financial or bank sites via a stored web password.
  • My passwords are too strong to be compromised.
    • Having a complex password is important, but no matter how strong it is, the bad guys can get their hands on it. If you fall for a phishing attack and enter it into a dummy website, it will not matter if it is “sUp3rc@l1fr@g1l1$tic3xp1@l!d0c!0u$”. Once they have it, they have it. Remember to change your password often and don’t fall for phishing attempts.
  • I have to download files to get hacked.
    • Back in the old days, this may have been the case. Now, malicious code can be slipped to you from infected websites or compromised embedded web ads. Browse carefully.