Safety Tips for Home Computers


Keep a Clean Machine

Keep security software current

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Automate software updates

Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

Protect all devices that connect to the Internet

Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.

Plug & scan

“USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Protect Your Personal Information

Secure your accounts

Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you to verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

Make passwords long and strong

Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

Unique account, unique password

Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

Write it down and keep it safe

Everyone can forget a password.  If you cannot remember it and must write it, disguise it as a sentence or a telephone number. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

Own your online presence

When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

Connect with Care

When in doubt, throw it out

Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Get savvy about Wi‐Fi hotspots

Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

Protect your $$

When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “http://” is not secure.

Be Web Wise

Stay current

Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.

Think before you act

Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

Back it up

Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a Good Online Citizen

Safer for me more secure for all

What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community. Post only about others as you have them post about you.

Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to (Internet Crime Complaint Center) or the Federal Trade Commission at

Visit for more information.


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