Online safety

As we hear of new online data breaches every day, it’s becoming more and more important to know how to protect ourselves online. Below are a few tips you can follow to make sure you and your data are as protected as possible.

Do NOT use the same password for everything you have. Do NOT use something simple or something about you or your kids. As hackers are staying a step ahead, we need to make it more difficult for them to get to our information. This all starts with the difficulty of your password. Mix it up—numbers and letters and symbols. Make it as long as the site will allow. If you must use an actual word to remember it, change out some of the letters for numbers. Example: F10W3R5.

Guard your private data
When making purchases or viewing private information, make sure the site you are using is secure. You will know if the site is secure if the URL begins with “https,” or if you see a lock icon on your browser’s status bar.

Secure your browser and email applications
Check the Tools or Options menu for built-in security and privacy features. Regularly update security software patches. Use your Spam filters. Never open an attachment from an unknown sender and be wary of attachments even from senders you do know.

Install protective software
Turn on the automatic update feature to download the most recent virus “antidotes.” Put up a firewall that blocks hackers from tampering with your information.

Beware of “phishing” scams
Never respond to an email requiring that you update or validate account information, especially under the threat of dire consequences. No legitimate company would make this request. Instead, forward the e-mail to and report it to the company being impersonated.