Post by Yvonne DiVita, BlogPaws CEO
Many many many years ago, in a time of big change, before Amazon.com took over the world, the Internet was a wild and scary place. Oh yes it was! There were flying monkeys and dragons and scary zombies… ok, maybe not those, maybe just people who acted like flying monkeys and scary zombies.
“Wait,” you’re saying, to yourself or maybe out loud to your computer, although I don’t know why you would talk to your computer, it’s not Hal, it won’t answer back. Anyway, I can hear you saying, “It’s still pretty wild and sure can get scary sometimes!”
Agreed. Today, the Internet is still a wild and scary place and it behooves all of us to take precautions lest we get pulled into a scam, or start spreading rumors, or friend someone who turns out to be a flying monkey. Back in those early days, a popular cartoon showed a dog at a computer talking to another dog who was sitting on the floor; and we all know dogs can talk so don’t even argue with me about that. “On the Internet,” the computer dog is saying, “no one knows you’re a dog.” (unless you have turned into a dog, as the writer of this New Yorker article says… but I digress, just couldn’t resist sharing that, it’s so funny!)
I’m here to tell you that today, in 2015, this is NOT true. Today, technology has advanced to a level that if we suspect you’re not what you say you are, our BFF Google will help us find out the truth!
Unfortunately, Google can also lead us down a path of destruction. Innocent searches can go awry, oh yes, they can! (no we are not going there… flying monkeys are just a tiny bit of that problem!)
What’s a blogger to do?
Stay safe, that’s what. To help you out, here are 10 Tips on Staying Safe on the Internet: (I bet you know most of this, but do you do it???)
1. Update software
2. Change passwords: really, stop using 123456 … use a combination of symbols, numbers and letters, memorable to you, but not hackers. So my password combines my age with my grandaughter’s… no it does not! Did you think I was going to tell you my password? No way. I use random symbols but in a combination I can remember. Nothing to do with age or grandkids. Maybe dogs. Maybe not.
3. Clean out old files/programs : interesting, I did not know this.
4. Don’t open suspicious emails. No, not even the one from your Aunt Mary, with an attachment about her trip to Italy. It’s not your Aunt Mary! She was in France, remember? No she didn’t swerve off to Italy and no she doesn’t now need $1000 to be bailed out of jail. Well, we hope she doesn’t. Even if she does, what was she doing that got her put in jail in the first place? Right? And, are you responsible for Aunt Mary? Exactly. Anyway, the point here is to be SURE.
5. Back up your work. Daily. We do. It’s come in handy time and again.
6. Keep your private life private. It is not necessary to share your entire life on Facebook! Some selfies should remain selfies for self only. Take them off your phone, too. Remember: everything you post on the Internet stays on the Internet forever! Yes, even if you delete it. Waybackmachine.com (Internet Archives)
7. Check for scammers by using Spokeo.
8. Doing banking or shopping online? Make sure the site has an “https://” or “shttp://” in the web address. This secures the information you are about to share. DO NOT use the site if one of those is not showing in the browser!
9. Don’t forget your blog. Save your content on a regular basis. WordPress says, “It’s your content; you can do whatever you like with it.” They offer simple, easy ways to download your content and save it to your harddrive.
10. Be selective who you “friend” on Facebook or elsewhere. I LOVE this blog post from Thought Catalog: Top Five People You Should Unfriend from Facebook. The descriptions of the various people who ask to ‘friend’ us is both hilarious and thought provoking. Heed the advice!
Wasn’t that fun? Now that you’ve read this far, I have a confession. This is Emily, the resident hound dog at the BlogPaws Corporate offices. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Sometimes it IS true that on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog. I fooled all ya’all, didn’t I?
But, if you’re a cat… we’ll sniff you out. You cats don’t even think about pretending to be a dog on the Internet! As if! (not sure about guinea pigs and ferrets… they’re pretty wiley… you should be careful before with them – I hear they use the Internet a whole lot!)