Personal Cyber Security

As a writer, you will be required to be part of the social media world. Here is a hoard of awesome information to help keep you safe.
How they get into your computer:
  • Email links and attachments – Crafted to appear from trusted source
    • Don’t click on links even if it looks official. Ex: if you have a notice from your bank, don’t click the link but go to a fresh screen and type in your bank’s address. Once you’ve logged in, if there is a real notice, it will show up there.
  • Phone apps
  • A shadow copy of a real website
  • Freeware and free games–no free lunch
  • Text messages
  • Website redirection
  • Pop up adds

Security questions on web sites:

  • Can often be decoded by the info on your social media sites—the high school you went to, your best man, your favorite pets name, etc.
  • Either be careful what you share on social media or make up answers to the security questions that have nothing to do with real life.  One trick is to add a phrase to your answer: I like bean sprouts ^ (answer)

Common internet fraud:

  • Fake computer help
  • Disk Encryption Ransom
  • Money Mover (launderer)

Common schemes:

  • On-line dating
  • Work from home
  • Lottery

Ways to stay safe:

  • Keep the Operating System (OS) updated
  • Use antivirus and malware and anti-spyware software
  • Use a Firewall and keep updated
  • Turn off computer when not in use
  • Use WPA2 encryption on your WIFI
  • Be very conscious of “free” WIFI
  • Be careful of what you download and where you browse
  • Use a router/hardware firewall

A word about WIFI: any device on free or public WIFI has access to yours, and your device is subject to picking up any virus or malware the other devices have been in contact with. This also holds true when you use WIFI at a friend’s house or you allow friends on your home WIFI.

  • In your home: most new routers are designed for at least two WIFI ports. Set up a secondary WIFI access for guests only. This will keep your personal devices segregated from the “public.” If you have a device, like a smart phone, that you use on public WIFI when at home it only ever connects to WIFI through your guest log-in. Make your WIFI password as long as your system will allow. This will help keep out hackers.
  • In public: use a device that, if infected, won’t compromise your system at home. For example, in our home, only our cell phones connect to public WIFI.


  • Think before you click
  • Verify sources
  • Spam filters
  • Go to website directly
  • Be skeptical about “free” stuff – game on nickelodeon will be advertising for their shows, if you don’t know how they are getting “paid” be leery
  • Use caution when giving out personally identifiable info
  • Check your credit report (the big 3 credit companies have to give you a fee report each year)
  • has a lot of good info on how to stay safe on line
    • – a place to report internet fraud and scams, this helps the government pull together the big data needed to go after the perpetrators. If you receive suspicious emails or have been a victim of internet fraud report it here. Unfortunately, the federal authorities can’t do anything about “small” crimes, under millions of dollars, but when enough people report the issue enough connections can at times be made that the bad guys (usually overseas) can be rooted out.

How to create memorable complex passwords:

  • Find a quote you like:
    • To be or not to be that is the question – tbontbtitq (10 character)
    • Come with me if you want to live – cwmiywtl (8 character)
  • Use upper and lower case tBoNtBtitQ
  • Add numbers: tB0Nt3titQ
  • Add special characters: ^t30Nt3tltQ$
  • Make it unique for each site – Facebook = @FB^t30Nt3titQ$ (15 characters)

About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, will be published November 2018 by Immortal Works Press. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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