The Cyber Safety Handbook

The Cyber Safety Handbook
Cyber Safety
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
This booklet is provided by The Cyber Safety Program,
a campaign to reduce victimization of older persons in
Washington State, sponsored by AARP Washington, Microsoft,
the Attorney General of Washington, and
the Federal Trade Commission.
Cyber Safety
Cyber Safety
Cyber Safety
10 Practices for Staying Safer on the Internet
Stop, Think, Click
The world has changed. Today you can work, check your bank
balances, book travel, research medical questions, talk to friends and
family members, order books and music, bid on auction items, and
even buy a car without leaving your home.
Thanks to the Internet, you have access to entertainment, shopping, your own personal financial transactions, email and other
information, 24 hours a day.
This unprecedented access to information is greater than earlier
generations could have ever imagined. The Internet has unlimited
information available to you upon demand.
For most people, most of the time, the Internet is a positive place.
However, the Internet is not without hazards. The Internet and the
anonymity it affords can give online scammers, hackers, and identity
thieves access to your computer, personal information, finances and more.
Consumer education and awareness is your safety net. This booklet
on cyber safety will provide you with tools and resources to protect
yourself, your family, and your computer.
To be safer and more secure online, adopt these ten practices.
Cyber Safety
Protect Yourself
Protect your privacy and
personal information online
Your personal information can provide an identity thief
instant access to your financial accounts, your credit record and
other assets. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. According to
the Federal Trade Commission, there are almost nine million victims
a year nationwide.
Here are a few tips to help minimize your risk online:
If you are asked for personal information such as your name,
email, address, telephone number, account numbers, or Social
Security number, find out how the information is going to be
used before you share it. Find out how the requester protects
your personal information. Remember, it is your information.
Whether you are shopping, banking, or conducting other
business online, do not provide your personal or financial
information through a company’s website until you have
checked for indicators that the site is secure.
Website Safety Tips
Look for “https” in the Web address (the “s” stands for secure).
Look for a padlock or an unbroken key in the lower right
corner of the status bar.
Double-click the padlock or key to ensure that the “issued by” name
on the security certificate matches the name in the address bar.
Cyber Safety
Read website privacy policies. Privacy policies should explain
what personal information the website collects, how the information is used, and if the site shares the information with
third parties. The policy should also tell whether you have
the right to see what information the website has about you.
The policy should explain measures the company takes to protect your information. If you do not see a privacy policy or
cannot understand it, consider doing business elsewhere.
“Phishers” send email or pop-up messages claiming to be from
a business or organization that you might have a business relationship with such as your Internet Service Provider, bank,
online payment service or a government agency. The message
appears to be official and urges you to take immediate action to
update or validate your account information. It may threaten
that your account will be closed or frozen if you do not respond.
The message directs you to a website that looks legitimate, but
is not. The bogus site operators are “phishing” for your personal information so they can steal your identity. Do not take
the bait. Never reply to or click on links in email or pop-ups
that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses do not
ask for your personal information by email.
If you get an email or pop-up message asking for personal
information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. If
you think there may be a need to provide information to the
requester (you have an account with the company or have
placed an order) contact the company directly by telephone.
Do not send your personal information via email; it is not a
secure transmission method.
Cyber Safety
How to Protect Your Personal Information
What You Should Know about Phishing Scams
Cyber Safety
Be alert online
Anyone can set up shop online. It is a
good practice to know whom you are
dealing with and what you are getting
into. Proceed with caution in your online
If you shop online, check out the seller before you buy. A
legitimate business or individual seller should give you a
physical address and a working telephone number you can
call in case you have problems. Call the telephone number
before you buy.
If you do shop online, pay by credit or charge card. If you pay
by credit or charge card online, the Fair Credit Billing Act, a
federal law, protects your transactions. In the event your card
is used without your knowledge or permission, you are only
liable for up to $50. Many companies do not hold consumers
responsible for any unauthorized charges made online. And
some card issuers may provide additional warranty, return
and/or purchase protection benefits.
Never send cash, personal checks or money orders for online
Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates. The law requires sellers to ship items as promised
or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is
Cyber Safety
Credit Cards
How to Shop Online More Safely
Shop Safely and Wisely Online
Cyber Safety
Junk email—
what to do about spam
If you have email, you have
probably received junk email
or unsolicited commercial
email also known as spam. It is estimated that 80 percent
or more of all email that is sent is spam.
Many Internet Service Providers provide junk email filters to help
stop 3.2 billion messages from reaching customers’ email accounts
daily. As a computer user, there are also things you can do to protect
Delete junk email without opening the message. If you open
the email, it can alert the spammer that the address is good.
Never reply to spam. This includes responding to an option
to “Remove me from your list.”
Do not buy anything or give to any charity marketing through
spam. Spammers may swap or sell email addresses of their
customers. If you make a purchase as the result of a spam email,
it may result in more spam.
Do not forward chain email messages. You lose control over
who sees your email address. You might also be forwarding a
hoax aiding in the delivery of a virus.
Read website privacy policies before you submit your email
address to a site. See if it allows the company to sell your
email address.
Read website “opt out” policies about information sharing.
You may have to uncheck a pre-checked box if you want to
opt out. Read the fine print.
Cyber Safety
Consider using two email addresses, one for friends and family, and another for online transactions. If you start getting too
much email at one address, you can close it.
Use a unique email address. Spammers use “dictionary attacks”
to sort through possible name combinations, hoping to find
valid addresses. A common name such as ssmith may get more
email than ssmithzyx321.
See if your Internet Service Provider provides an email filter
to help you filter out potential spam.
Treat unsolicited email like you would a telemarketing call.
Use caution. Old-fashioned scams, schemes, and moneymaking
opportunities now arrive in your email inbox.
Dealing with Spam Email
Cyber Safety
Use strong passwords—
protect them and change
them regularly
Passwords are the key to unlocking your
computer and online accounts. A strong password provides
better security against hackers and thieves.
Strong passwords should be over eight characters in length,
combine letters, numbers and symbols, and should avoid using common words. Do not use your name, your spouse’s
name, your birthday or location.
Change your passwords regularly or at least every 90 days. Do
not use the same password for each online account you use.
Keep your passwords secret. Do not give passwords out to
family or friends or send your passwords over email. Do not
enable the “Save Password Option” if you receive a dialog
box asking you if you would like the computer to remember
your password.
Do not store written passwords on or near your computer.
Record passwords and store in a safe, secure place.
One way to create a strong and memorable password is to think
of a “passphrase.” Think of a phrase that is easy to remember like “I
save my pennies for a rainy day.” Use the first letter of each word as
your password, converting some letters into numbers that resemble
letters for example “Ism¢4ard.” Notice the combination of upper and
lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
Strong Passwords
Cyber Safety
Protect Your
Be sure to set up your
operating system and Web
browser software properly,
and update them regularly
A Web browser is software that gives a user access to the World
Wide Web. Web browsers often provide a graphical interface that lets
users click buttons, icons, and menu options to view and navigate
Web pages.
An operating system is the software that manages the computer
system and makes the computer functional.
Hackers can take control of Web browsers and operating systems
that are unsecured. Security settings should be set at medium or higher.
Lessen your risk by changing settings in your browser or operating
system and increasing your online security.
Your operating system may offer free software patches that close
the holes in the system that hackers could exploit. Some operating
systems can be set to automatically retrieve and install patches for
you. If your system does not do this, bookmark the website for your
system’s manufacturer so you can regularly visit the site and update
your system. Sometimes updating can be as simple as one click.
If you are not using your computer for an extended period, turn it
off or unplug it from the telephone or cable line. When your computer is off, it does not send or receive information from the Internet
and is not vulnerable to hackers.
Cyber Safety
Software Updates
Updates & Maintenance
Cyber Safety
Use antivirus
software and a
update both
Antivirus software protects your computer from viruses
that can destroy your data, slow your computer’s performance, cause
a crash, or even allow spammers to send email through your account.
The antivirus software works by scanning your computer and your
incoming mail for viruses, and then deleting them.
You can download antivirus software from the websites of
software companies or buy it. Look for antivirus software that
recognizes current viruses, as well as older viruses, effectively
reverses the damage, and updates automatically.
Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send
out your personal information without your permission. While
antivirus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall
is like a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your
system and blocking communications to and from sources you
do not permit.
Some operating systems include built-in firewalls in the “off”
mode. Make sure you turn it on. For a firewall to be effective, it needs
to be set up properly and regularly updated.
If your operating system does not include a firewall, you can
either download free firewall software programs on the Internet or
purchase firewall software or hardware.
Cyber Safety
Protect Your PC
Protect Your Mac
Cyber Safety
Stop and think before
you click
Before you provide information, open
files or attachments, or download files from unknown
senders, take a minute to stop and think before you click.
Free downloads can contain spyware. Spyware is software
installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent that adversely affects your ability to use your computer,
sometimes by monitoring or controlling how you use it. To
avoid spyware, resist the urge to install any software unless
you know exactly what it is. You can install antispyware software and then use it regularly to scan for and delete spyware
programs that may sneak onto your computer.
Email attachments and links sent over email will not damage
your computer without your participation. You have to open
an email or attachment that includes a virus or follow a link to
a site that is programmed to infect your computer. Hackers
use a variety of enticing file names such as “Per your request!”
or “Fwd: FUNNY” to get you to open the email attachment or
click on the link. Do not open an email attachment, unless you
expect it and know what it contains. You can help others trust
your attachments by including a message in your text that
explains what you are attaching.
“Instant messaging” is a form of online communication like
email. You can type messages to someone and they can see
the messages almost immediately. Files attached to instant
messages can also contain viruses. In most cases, viruses
spread when you open an infected file attached to an instant
message appearing to come from someone you know.
Cyber Safety
Defending Yourself Against Viruses and Worms
FTC Consumer Alert - Spyware
Cyber Safety
Back up important files
No system is completely secure. If you
have important files stored on your
computer, copy them onto a
removable disc and store them in a
safe place. Maintain a home computer
backup schedule so you do not lose important files.
Backup Basics
Cyber Safety
Protect Your Friends
and Family
Share information to help
keep kids, grandkids, friends
and family safe online
Now that you have a basic knowledge about how to stay safer
on the Internet, share this booklet with a friend or family member.
If you reach just one person whom you think might be vulnerable
to unsafe Internet practices, you will be doing a tremendous
community service.
Pay attention to what kids do and whom they meet online.
Consider a rule that no child reveals personal information,
including photos, without permission. Warn kids never to meet
Internet “friends” in person.
Parental controls are provided by most Internet Service Providers, or sold as separate software. No software can substitute for parental supervision. Talk to your kids and/or
grandkids about safe computing as well as things they are
seeing and doing online.
Cyber Safety
Child Safety
Kidz Privacy
By law, websites that ask for certain information about kids
under 13 have to get their parents permission to get the information.
This is an educational site intended to help consumers understand both the positive aspects of the Internet as well as
how to manage a variety of safety and security issues that
exist online.
Web Aware
This site provides you with tools you need to help keep your
kids safe online.
Cyber Safety
Report Fraud
Join the fight
against fraud
All across Washington State,
people are becoming Fraud
Fighters, citizens volunteering to help stop fraud
by educating others.
As a fraud fighter, you become the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Research has shown that less than one in four fraud
victims ever report the crime to the authorities. Now that you know
what to look for and can identify spam, phishing emails and other
online dangers, make a report to the proper agency or to your
Internet Service Provider.
Identity Theft
If you believe you have mistakenly given your personal information to a fraudster, file a complaint at and then
visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website at to learn how to minimize your risk of
damage from a potential theft of your identity. You can also call the
Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
Internet Fraud
If a scammer takes advantage of you through an Internet auction,
when you’re shopping online, or in any other way, report it to the
Federal Trade Commission, at The FTC enters Internet,
identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer
Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and
criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Cyber Safety
Internet Service Provider
Report abusive, harassing, or threatening email messages to your
Internet Service Provider.
Report phishing attempts to the company that has been misre p re s e n t e d . Yo u a l s o m a y re p o r t p h i s h i n g e m a i l t o
[email protected] The Anti-Phishing Working
Group, a consortium of Internet Service Providers, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies use
these reports to fight phishing.
Spam (unsolicited commercial email)
If you get deceptive spam, forward it to [email protected] Be sure
to include the full header of the email, including all routing information. The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue
law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive email.
Many Internet Service Providers also provide features to report
spam directly from your email account to your ISP.
Cyber Safety
Steps I will take to stay safer online
Immediate steps
✔ I will keep my operating system up-to-date. I will bookmark
the website for my operating system and check for updates. I
will also enable the automatic update feature.
✔ I will regularly update my Web browser and other major
software, using the update instructions provided by the
✔ I will check my browser security settings. I will keep my
security settings set at medium or higher.
✔ I will ensure my Internet firewall is enabled. If I do not have
firewall protection, I will either download or purchase firewall
✔ I will use antivirus software. I will check to see if my ISP
provides additional virus protection or purchase software
from a manufacturer or retail outlet. I will enable the autoprotect and update features or if I am a subscriber, will keep
my subscription current.
✔ I will use antispyware software. I will check to see if my ISP
provides additional spyware protection or purchase software
from a manufacturer or retail outlet. I will enable the autoprotect and update features or if I am a subscriber, will keep
my subscription current.
✔ I will make sure my ISP provides security such as spam
filtering and virus scanning for no additional charge.
Cyber Safety
Cyber safety practices
✔ I will ensure websites are secure and investigate website
privacy policies.
✔ I will be an alert online shopper, investigating merchants,
products, and services before I buy.
✔ I will be cautious of email and instant message attachments.
✔ I will never open an attachment that I was not expecting, even
from a friend.
✔ I will never reveal personal or financial information in response
to an email.
✔ I will delete spam or report spam. I will never respond to spam
or buy products or services from spammers.
✔ I will consider two email addresses, one for family and friends,
and one for online transactions.
✔ I will use strong passwords and change them frequently.
✔ I will regularly back up important computer files.
✔ I will keep my friends and family safe online by sharing cyber
safety tips, resources and information.
Cyber Safety
Internet Terms
A file sent along with an email message.
Computer code that is placed on a hard drive when
Internet users go to websites and allow the sites to
identify the computer if it returns to the site.
A person who uses the Internet to access computers
and information without permission.
Spam or a pop-up message to lure personal and
financial information from unsuspecting victims.
Unsolicited commercial email. There are two types
of spam, legal and illegal. The subject line is considered legally deceptive if it has a tendency or
capacity to deceive consumers.
Someone who sends mass amounts of unsolicited
commercial email.
Instant message spam is also known as spim.
Programs installed without your explicit consent.
Spyware can remotely control your computer or
collect your personal information and send it to a
third party.
Software that spreads from computer to computer
and damages files or disrupts your system.
Self-propagating malicious code that can automatically distribute itself from one computer to another
through network connections.
Cyber Safety
Security Software Terms
Antispam Software
Antispam software automatically intercepts and filters email before it reaches
your inbox.
Antispyware Software
Antispyware software helps protect your
computer from spyware and other potentially unwanted software by detecting
and removing known spyware programs.
It can be scheduled to scan your computer
at times that are convenient for you.
Antivirus Software
Antivirus programs help protect you from
malicious programs, called viruses, that attach themselves to a program or file in order to spread from computer to computer.
A firewall will help protect your computer
from hackers who might try to delete information from your computer, make it crash
or even steal personal information, such as
passwords or credit card numbers over the
Internet. If you use the Internet from home,
installing a firewall before connecting to the
Internet is the most important first step you
can take to protect your computer.
Spam or
Junk Email Filters
Spam or junk email filters can serve as the
first line of defense against spam. Many
Internet Service Providers and email programs provide email filters.
Cyber Safety
To File Complaints
Attorney General of Washington
If you are a Washington State resident or the business is located in the state, and have been the victim of an unfair or
deceptive business practice, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online or call 1-800-551-4636 to request a
complaint form.
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar
Crime Center
Consumers can report suspected Internet frauds to the Internet
Fraud Complaint Center.
Federal Trade Commission
The FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints;
your complaint helps the FTC investigate fraud and may lead
to law enforcement action. The FTC enters Internet,
telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into the Consumer Sentinel®, a secure online database
available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement
agencies worldwide. You can call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Cyber Safety
Visit AARP Washington’s website for cyber safety resources
and an online tool kit.
Your place for online training, classes and more. Sign up to
receive a free online newsletter on computers and technology.
Information about online scams and many other subjects of
interest to older adults.
Attorney General of Washington
The Attorney General’s Office investigates and brings legal
actions to stop fraudulent and deceptive business practices.
The office also facilitates the resolution of consumer complaints
and educates consumers.
Federal Trade Commission
Contains up-to-date information about consumer protection
issues. It lets you file a complaint about a business online, including privacy violations.
Provides practical tips from the federal government and the
technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet
fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
Cyber Safety
Get continuous antivirus protection and maintenance for your
computer. This site provides information on how to protect
yourself, your family and your computer.
Other Resources
Better Business Bureau
Site lets you check the reliability of a business, get consumer
tips, and file a complaint against a business online.
Child Pornography CyberTipline
If you know about a child who is in immediate risk or danger,
call law enforcement at 1-800-843-5678.
Consumer Reports WebWatch
Consumer Reports WebWatch is a grant-funded project of
Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and
Direct Marketing Association
Describes ethical practices on online marketing and privacy,
and handles consumer complaints. Maintains services to remove your name from lists used for unwanted mail, telephone
calls, and email.
Cyber Safety
Federal Consumer Information Center
The federal government’s clearinghouse for consumer education materials.
Federal Government Agencies
A gateway to consumer protection offices of several federal
agencies. Lets you file a complaint online.
The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be only “one
click away” from the resources they need to make informed
decisions about their and their family’s use of the Internet.
National Fraud Information Center
Run by the National Consumers League. Maintains information about online scams, and lets you file a consumer complaint online.
Cyber Safety
The information contained in this presentation and materials is
provided for educational and informational purposes only. AARP,
Microsoft, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Attorney General of Washington make no representations that the suggestions
and recommendations provided will prevent any harmful conduct.
Microsoft and the Microsoft logo are either registered trademarks
or trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation in the United States
and /or other countries. The names and logos of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks of their
respective owners.
Cyber Safety
You can help stop fraud in Washington by
joining the Fraud Fighters!
Learn how to spot fraud and stop it! If you would like
to become a Fraud Fighter—no matter what age you are—clip and fill out
the form below to receive regular updates on current scams and fraudulent activity in Washington state.
Yes, I’d like to receive regular updates from AARP on fraud and
scams in Washington by mail. (Please print.)
Telephone (
I’d prefer to receive this information by email (this will reduce
mailing costs). Please include the information above. My email is:
Choose from four easy ways to submit this information:
1. Return this form to any AARP staff person.
2. Mail this form:
Fraud Fighters
AARP Washington
9750 3rd Avenue NE, Suite 450
Seattle, WA 98115
3. Fax this form:
4. Email: submit your name, mailing address, city, state, zip code
and telephone number to [email protected] Type “Fraud Fighter”
in the subject line.
Please clip and return this form by mail or fax.
Cyber Safety
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