Internet Applications, Internet Safety, and You

As more applications are run from the internet, rather than installed locally on a device, each of us needs to become more cognizant of browser security settings and internet safety practices.  The following are a few key tips for internet safety.

Only Use Trusted Network Connections

Wi-Fi offered by many businesses and hotels are insecure.  Any data sent while connected on this network can be subject to interception or snooping.

  • If you must use an insecure network, be sure to authenticate to the SMU VPN service before browsing to any banking sites or accessing University information.
  • Do not connect to Wi-Fi networks if you don’t know who is providing the network.
  • Finally, ensure that your home wireless network is secured with a password to prevent unauthorized individuals from joining your network. 

Keep Your Browsers Updated and Secured

Internet browsers, such as Edge, Firefox, and Chrome, have many security features built-in to help protect your online activity which you can easily disable.

  • Apply browser updates when they are available.
  • Refrain from installing extra toolbars and add in programs as these can compromise the security of the browser.
  • Enable pop-up blockers and manage exceptions carefully.
  • If accessing websites where confidential information is entered, such as online stores or sites which require a username and password, double check the web address. Ensure that the path starts with https and the security lock icon is displayed.

Use Strong Passwords for All Accounts

LockDownURloginEven if the website does not require a complex password, be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols for your password.  Refrain from using common words or easily guessed passwords.  Do not use the same password for all of your accounts.  While that makes it easier for you to remember, it also makes it easier for a hacker to move quickly through all of your accounts by just compromising the password on one account.  Finally, never share your password with anyone.

Be Careful Where You Go Online

Only visit sites that you know are reputable sites.  When searching for information, be careful of the websites you visit and trust your instincts.  If something doesn’t seem right or if the site requires extra programs to be installed, think twice.


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Published by

George Finney

George Finney is the Chief Security Officer at Southern Methodist University. He is responsible for implementing and monitoring a diverse security infrastructure to protect the University network and data.