Real World Safety in a Virtual World

It used to be true that what happened online had little impact in the real world. The IT Services Security team reminds you that today's internet is big business, and what happens online can have a big impact in your real world.

In the real world, you guard your wallet and make sure you put money and credit cards back where they belong. You've developed habits and consistent behaviors that help protect you in the real world, and developing similar habits online will help you stay safe. The internet is not just for honest folks; crooks are banking on poor online habits that they can exploit.

For safe browsing online, implement these important practices.

  • Use a current browser and update it when patches and bug fixes are announced. Most browsers alert you to updates or update themselves as part of your operating system.
  • Make sure your browser plugins are also updated. Many recent hacks were made possible because of problems with older browser plugins. Make sure all your plugins are current, including:
    • Adobe Flash
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader or any other PDF viewer
    • Java
    • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Use a current antivirus and antispyware tool, and update it with current antivirus definitions. UARK users can download free antivirus software.

Practice these habits when you're shopping or conducting business online.

  • Use strong, unique passwords whenever money is involved, especially on financial sites.
  • Always go to your bank's website by typing in the URL for the site or by using your bookmarks. You can protect yourself from phishing scams by always being the one to initiate contact with your bank.
  • Before logging into a shopping cart or a financial site, look for the important "S" in the URL bar, https:// instead of http://. Also check for a security lock icon. These two items indicate that the site is secure.
  • Always log out when you are finished.
  • Never access your bank or financial institution from a public computer.
  • Avoid surfing other sites while conducting financial transactions.
  • Check your statements for suspicious activity. Report suspicious activity immediately.
  • If you suspect that your identity is being used by someone else, report it immediately to: