This is part of Edudemic’s Staying Safe Online series. We will be periodically publishing guides and helpful bits of information to keep you thinking about how to stay safe among all those bits and bytes.
Google has just published a terrific new guide to staying safe online. Since we all likely use at least a few of their products, it’s a guide worth checking out. From preventing phishing scams to cookies to properly signing out from websites…there’s a trove of information that you should check out. I’ve embedded ten of the best parts (in my opinion) below to whet your appetite. Not in the mood for reading so much? Check out our recent infographic on managing your online reputation or the Edudemic Ultimate Guide to Online Safety.
If you have a Google Account, Google Dashboard helps you answer the question, “What does Google know about me?”. It shows you the information stored in your Google Account and enables you to change your privacy settings for many products from one central location.
When you go to your Dashboard you’ll find a single page where you can see the various products you use with your account and what’s stored in them, along with easy access to the product-specific controls. Dashboard can remind you of your last Blogger blog, your favorite YouTube playlist, your uploaded photos and more.
Passwords are the first line of defense against cyber criminals. It’s important to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts and to change them regularly. Here are some ideas to help create strong passwords.
Managing what you share about yourself online is a bit like having people over for dinner. You show them around. Cook a fantastic meal. But they’ll only see what you want them to see, because you probably prefer to keep some things to yourself (and will keep those hidden away). The same thing is true online: you share a few things but you don’t want people to know everything about you.
An important first step in controlling what people can find about you on the web is knowing what’s published about you online. Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you—whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update. When someone searches for your name on a search engine like Google, the results that appear are probably a combination of information you’ve posted and information published by others.
Our tool, Me on the Web, makes it easier to monitor your identity online. It helps you set up Google Alerts, so you receive notifications when you are mentioned on websites or in news stories, and it automatically suggests some search terms you may want to keep an eye on.
Me on the Web also provides links to resources offering information on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web. These include tips like reaching out to the webmaster of a site to ask for the content to be taken down, or publishing additional information on your own to help make less relevant websites appear farther down in search results.
You can find Me on the Web as a section of the Google Dashboard underneath the Account details.
Whether you use your mobile phone to search for something on the web, or download the latest app, here are some tips and advice to protect yourself, your information and your phone.
www.google.comit’s probably safer to leave the site.
Online criminals are financially motivated to steal your information, whether or not they know who you are. They dress the part, talk the talk, and by pretending to be something or someone they’re not, they try to get your personal details. A phishing website or message tries to trick you into revealing personal information by appearing to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank, social network, or even Google. We’re always on the lookout for phishing attempts, fake sites and Internet scams and we protect web users from visiting malicious sites roughly 3 million times every day.
It’s good to pay close attention to all sign-in screens online. You should always be wary of any message that asks for your personal information or messages that refer you to a web page asking for these details.
Messages or websites phishing for information might ask you to enter the following details:
Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself against phishing:
The term “malware” covers all sorts of malicious software designed to harm a computer or network. Malware can be installed on your machine without your knowledge, often through deceptive links or downloads posing as something you might be interested in. Once malware has been installed on your computer, cyber criminals can sometimes try to access your personal information. They do this by logging your keystrokes or monitoring your computer’s activity. Your computer could also be controlled and forced to visit websites, send spam email or perform other actions without your knowledge. The effects of malware can be anything from a brief annoyance to identity theft.
A few examples of malware:
Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself against malware:
Currently, the best way to remove malware is to scan your computer with at least one, and ideally a few, high quality anti-virus products. We have no connection with the companies below, so we can’t comment on their programs’ effectiveness, but trying any of these programs often makes a difference, as does having the latest versions. You may also use the site av-comparatives.org to find other Anti-Virus software and review test results.
If you feel you were deceived when you installed a program that creates popups or modifies your browser, you may want to file a complaint at StopBadware.org. Additionally, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices in the U.S. To file a complaint, do one of the following:
If you’ve been redirected to a suspicious site, please take a moment to tell Google about it.
Ever gone out for the day and left your front door wide open? Exactly. The same principle applies when you leave yourself signed in to online accounts on the computers you use. It’s a good idea to sign out of your accounts when you’re no longer using them, and to shut down your browser when you have finished using the web on a shared computer.
Making sure a site is safe
When you go into a branch of your bank, you recognize the official staff by their name, their uniforms and the services they offer you. Having this level of reassurance shouldn’t be any different for online banking or other sensitive sites. It’s good to remember that a safe site’s address starts with “https” and displays a padlock icon in your browser. This is a good indication that the site is safe for you to pay online or share other information.
Safeguarding your email
You wouldn’t want anyone to open your postal mail and read it. The same goes for email. With Gmail we do our best to keep your messages and inbox safe: Gmail helps protect against viruses, spyware, and other malware. It offers default HTTPS access and 2-step verification as an optional extra layer of security for your Google Account.
All modern browsers have tools to help you delete or block cookies from being set. But it’s important to remember that many sites need cookies to work properly so by deleting or blocking them, some parts of these websites might not function correctly.
Here is an example of what can be stored in a cookie:
You wouldn’t expect a magazine about fishing to be full of advertising about dance music or video games. It makes more sense to show ads about things readers are likely to be interested in, such as new angling gear. On the Internet, the same is true: websites usually try to show you advertising that they think is likely to be of interest, which makes sense for you, the website owner and for the advertiser.
We try to show you relevant ads and we use some clues to your preferences to help us do this, both on Google Search and across the web.
The ads that appear on Google Search are targeted based on your search queries. If you type “cheap flights”, for example, into Google, you will probably see sponsored links at the top of the page and on the right hand side showing ads from travel companies. To decide which ad to show you, the automated system looks at the search query that you enter, the relevance of the ads to this query and how much the advertiser is prepared to pay in the auction and, in some cases, your very recent query history. This process does not use any data you may share with Google through other products (such as Gmail) and the ranking is completely unrelated to Google’s natural search results. These are examples of contextual ads as they are related to what you are looking for on that page at that time.
In addition to the sponsored links you see on Search, Google places ads across the web by acting as an intermediary between advertisers and website owners. In some cases these are contextual like search ads, i.e. they are based on the content of the web page where they appear. In other cases they are interest-based ads and these are shown because we’ve made a guess at the types of things likely to interest you. We base this on other pages you’ve previously visited that show Google ads. So if you’ve visited many gardening sites, you may see more gardening ads across the web.
This is how it works:
114411) in the “gardening enthusiast” interest category.
Throughout this process we don’t store your name or keep any personal information about you. We just recognize the number stored in your browser, and show ads related to the interest categories associated with your cookie (so we’re recognizing your browser, not you). We don’t show ads based on sensitive information or interests, like race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or sensitive financial categories.
You can control which types of ads you see using Ads Preferences Manager. This allows you to change the interest categories associated with your browser (or if you don’t want us to store your interests at all, you can opt-out altogether).
Ads that appear in Gmail are similar to the ads that appear next to Google search results and on content pages throughout the web. In Gmail, ads are related to the content of your messages. Our goal is to provide Gmail users with ads that are useful and relevant to their interests.
Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email in order to target advertisements or related information. This type of automated scanning is how many email services, not just Gmail, provide features like spam and virus filtering and spell checking. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers Google’s AdSense program.
Only ads classified as family safe are distributed through our content network and to your Gmail inbox. Also, we are careful about the types of content we serve ads against. For example, Google may block certain ads from running next to an email about catastrophic news. In addition, we will not target ads based on sensitive information, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or sensitive financial categories. You can control the use of these signals from the Gmail Settings page.