Internet Safety


Simple things you can do to help keep yourself safe on the Internet

Social Networking

The chats, games, and privacy settings on social networking sites may leave you at risk. See tips for Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites


Know how to recognize email scams and phishing. Take the Sonicwall Phishing IQ Test

Passphrases and Passwords

Use passphrases or strong passwords. Use different passwords for different types of sites — your banking passphrase should not be the same as your blogging passphrase.


Antivirus software is like soap, it is good (not perfect) protection against getting infections.


Although annoying, keep software like web browsers, Flash, Acrobat, and Java up-to-date in order to stay safe and prevent issues such as drive-by downloads.


Separate Business and Casual

Try to keep two computers if dealing with sensitive data, such as Social Security Numbers: one for working with the sensitive data, and another for general email and web browsing. Some regulations for sensitive data have this a requirement.

Failing that, try using a virtual machine for casual browsing.

Failing that, try using two different login accounts. Switch accounts (logout/logon) whenever you need to "switch hats".

Failing that, try using two different web browsers. Use the operating systems browser for business, and an alternate third-party browser for causal browsing.

Security Add-ons

Some Internet browsers allow security add-ons. These give users more control of over their browser, but usually require configuration and tuning. Examples are NoScript (Firefox) and FlashBlock (Chrome).


You can protect data using encryption technologies such as: a "FIPS Validated" flash drive, VeraCryptEFS, BitLocker, FileVault, and office document passwords.

Although useful for privacy, encryption comes with serious risk for data loss — forget a passphrase, and the data could be gone forever. Be sure to read the user guide for your technology and understand what is necessary to be safe for both privacy and data recovery.

Data Destruction

For certain types of sensitive data, such as Social Security Numbers, simple deleting isn't enough. Instead employ a cryptographic erasing tool, such as Eraser.