Protecting yourself on the internet: the basics

RBC I After being gone from the area for the last 30-plus years, I was surprised at how the internet had made its way to Rio Blanco County… and in such a big way. Speaking from personal experience, a lot of areas in the “big city” don’t have the quality internet infrastructure that Meeker and Rangely currently enjoy.

When I started my career in the field of network technology, the internet was something that was pretty much exclusive to government and universities. Since that time, and needless to say, the internet has exploded into something that our society today can scarcely survive without.
I was with IBM in 1994 when the gates to the internet were opened to the public. At that time, the whole internet world was essentially new and a fertile expanse for the development of things like online commerce. Compared to today, it was a relatively safe place. Of course, it didn’t take long for hackers to figure out ways to exploit it.
As of today, the internet is an incredibly valuable asset, both educationally as well as economically. It’s also become a pretty scary place full of disinformation, deception and crime. It’s enough to make a person think twice about doing anything online, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
To try and help folks mitigate their risk of being taken advantage of on the internet, I’ll be writing a series of articles on ways you can protect yourself while online. Make no mistake, there is no fool-proof way to prevent what is known as “cyber-crime.”
The only completely secure computer is one that has been turned off and unplugged. Obviously, this isn’t very practical, so my goal is to help people use the internet safely by providing some ideas on how to minimize your exposure. If a person implements some basic security measures and maintains an awareness of possible exploits, you can make it very hard for hackers to obtain your personal information or gain access to your various online accounts. In the coming weeks, I will be writing on the following subjects:
• Good Password Management
• Phishing—What It Is and How To Identify It
• Identifying Secure Websites
• Securing Your Home Network
I would also invite people to ask questions. Email your questions to brett@ht1885.com and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. Keep it as brief as possible. I can’t fix something that’s already broken, but I can try to help you fix something before it breaks (or is broken into).

By BRETT DEARMAN
brett@ht1885.com

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