With internet connected smartphones, computers, laptops, iPads, televisions, security systems — and even some of our sewing machines are capable of connecting to the internet — it’s more important than ever to take ongoing steps to keep ourselves protected. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Operating System Updates: Keeping your operating systems up to date, whether that’s Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android or something else, is your first line of defense. This includes computers, laptops and mobile devices. Most of these devices will update automatically or at least alert you that an update is available. If you receive a screen that says an update is available for your operating system, smile, mash that update button and yell “LET’S DO THIS!”
- Software Updates: While the operating system is what runs your device, software is what makes your device do what you want it to do. It could be a word processing program, an email program, security software, or that game of Solitaire you love to play while drinking your morning cup of joe. If your software doesn’t update automatically, try looking for a “Check for Updates” choice (often found under the Help menu).
- Browser Updates: Browsers refer to what you use to connect to the internet, such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc. An up-to-date browser will help to protect you while you surf online. It won’t hide that new pattern or notion that you’re having delivered to your home though.
- Secure your home’s Wi-Fi: You should protect your wi-fi connection as fiercely as your guard your fabric stash. Your home’s wireless router is a potential weak spot in your security. Whether you purchased your own router or you received your modem/router from your internet service provider (ISP), check to be sure that you are not using the equipment’s default username and password (which is often admin/password). If you’re not sure how to check this, it may be time to get out the manual, make a call to your ISP, or promise your favorite teen a new home-sewn item for helping you out.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious emails, even if it looks like it came from someone you know. If an email looks like a scam and quacks like a scam – I mean, duck – it probably is a scam. Or duck. Doesn’t matter. Sew a holiday outfit for the duck but don’t invite it in to your home.
- Protect your devices with antivirus software and anti-malware (or total internet security that combines both) software. This software is like a technology flu shot. Nothing can guarantee that your equipment won’t get infected, but this does a great job of slamming the door on potential problems.
- Never click and tell. Make your online friends ooh and ahh with pics of your new handcrafted outfit, but no one online needs to know what you spent on your new embroidery machine or that you are leaving the house right now to head to the fabric store (tell all about it when you get back though!). Many don’t realize that seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones and your physical belongings—online and in the real world.
Watch for more online tips and information on how to keep your fabulous, creative self “sew” safe online!
~© Janice Blasko, ASG Webgoddess