Archive for the ‘online reputation’ Category

The best time to change your password is now

January 30th, 2014 No comments

You can reduce your chances of being hacked by regularly changing the passwords on all the accounts where you enter financial or other sensitive information. Set an automatic reminder to update passwords on your email, banking, and credit card websites every three months.

Different sites have different rules for passwords that they’ll accept, but here is some basic guidance on how to create strong passwords:

  • Length. Make your passwords at least eight (8) characters long.
  • Complexity. Include a combination of at least three (3) upper and/or lowercase letters, punctuation, symbols, and numerals. The more variety of characters in your password, the better.
  • Variety. Don’t use the same password for everything. Cybercriminals can steal passwords from websites that have poor security and then use those same passwords to target more secure environments, such as banking websites.

Learn more about how to create strong passwords and protect your passwords.

If you think someone has gone into your account and changed your password, learn how to recover a hacked account.

10 New Year’s resolutions for your digital devices and your online life

December 31st, 2013 No comments

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to resolve to create healthier habits in our daily lives. But we don’t have to stop at just improving our body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a good idea to resolve to keep our PCs, laptops, smartphones, and social networking sites healthy this year.

1. Keep your software up to date. You can help protect against viruses, fraud, and more by keeping your operating system, antivirus software, antispyware software, web browser, and other software updated. Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Learn how to get security updates automatically.

2. Create strong passwords, keep them secret, and change them regularly. This is particularly important for those passwords that safeguard your computer, important accounts (like email or Facebook), and sensitive information, like financial and health data. Get more information about creating strong passwords and protecting them.

3. Use antivirus software. If your computer is running Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to help you detect and get rid of spyware and other malware. If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, Windows Defender removes spyware.

4. Check and adjust your privacy settings. You can participate in the online world and keep your information private. Learn more about how to manage your privacy settings in Windows, Internet Explorer, your Microsoft account, Windows Phone, and more. 

Watch a video about privacy in action (1:19).

5. Teach your children about online safety. Before kids use computers, gaming consoles, or mobile devices, make sure you agree on clear limits, talk about how to keep accounts and passwords secret, and help them stand up to online bullying. If your child got a new device this holiday season, read this checklist for safety tips.

6. Monitor your children’s online behaviors, and continue to talk to them about Internet safety. If your kids are online, it’s important to have regular online safety conversations and to continue to keep track of what they’re doing. For more information, see Age-based guidelines for kids’ Internet use.

7. Upgrade to modern software that provides the latest security technologies and protections. Advanced security technologies in modern operating systems are specifically designed to make it more difficult, more complex, more expensive, and therefore, less appealing to cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Learn more about how support for Windows XP ends this year.

8. Use SkyDrive to help protect your personal information. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to infiltrate your computer and hold your files (photos, documents, reports, etc.) hostage until you pay the demanded amount of money to a cybercriminal. One of the best ways to protect your files is to back them up using a removable drive or a cloud service like SkyDrive.

9. Explore new tools for PC protection. If you feel comfortable performing more advanced computer tasks, consider downloading the free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which will make it even more difficult for malicious hackers and cybercriminals to get into your computer.

10. Ignore fake tech support phone calls. Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, all you have to do is hang up. For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.


7 ways to avoid TMI

July 23rd, 2013 No comments

Technology can make everything in our lives easier—including sharing too much information (TMI). Just because you can take a picture of your new credit card and post it on Instagram doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, you shouldn’t.

Sharing too much information can lead to identity theft. It can also damage your online reputation, which could prevent you from getting into college, getting a job, or even getting health insurance.

Here are ways to avoid sharing TMI:

  1. Never share your address, phone number, Social Security number, or other personal information through online interactions. 
  2. Use and manage your privacy settings. Limit who can see details of your online profiles.
  3. Never shop, bank, or enter passwords or credit card numbers over public Wi-Fi.
  4. Ask questions. Sometimes we do need to share personal information, but before doing so, ask why the information is necessary and beware of imposters.
  5. Use sites that you can trust. Learn what to look for.
  6. Stop and think before you post an image, blog, tweet, or comment. What does it say about you and how you want to be viewed online?
  7. Take charge of your online reputation: Discover, evaluate, protect, cultivate, and restore as needed.

For more tips on avoiding TMI, check out the hashtag #IsThisTMI on our Twitter channel.


Graduate to better social media sharing

May 28th, 2013 No comments

Around the world, we’re celebrating graduates of high school, college, and even grade school. Whatever the occasion for celebration, keep in mind these tips for social media sharing:

  • Be mindful of your online image. Remember that blog posts, photographs, and videos that you post on the Internet could be there forever. Even if you try to remove unfavorable content from the Internet, that information might already be saved to another person’s computer. Learn how to take charge of your online reputation.
  • Be careful with sharing personal information. This includes sharing your last name, home address, phone numbers, school’s name, email address, last names of friends or relatives, instant messaging names, age, and birth date. Learn other ways to protect yourself from fraud.
  • Adjust your online gaming settings. Xbox LIVE offers a number of privacy and safety settings that allows you to choose what information you display about yourself and who can contact you. Learn more about privacy on Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE.

Get more tips on how to socialize more safely.

Download a poster with more social media sharing statistics







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Spring break online safety tips

April 15th, 2013 No comments

If you’re traveling with your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device this spring break, the following tips can help you stay safer online with a mobile device.

  • Make sure your laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and antispyware software installed. Windows 8 includes antivirus protection that’s turned on by default. If your computer isn’t running Windows 8, download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.
  • Choose the most secure Wi-Fi connection. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 can help you evaluate and minimize network security risks.
  • Avoid entering passwords, credit card numbers, or other financial information on a less secure public network.
  • Be careful about who you alert on your social networking site that your home will be empty.
  • Be mindful of your online image. Remember that spring break photographs and videos that you post on the Internet could be there forever. Learn how to take charge of your online reputation.
  • Lock your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN. Keep it secret. Take our poll about mobile manners and safety and get more tips.

Get more tips on using public computers and wireless devices more safely

Kids and technology: Is there any good news?

September 25th, 2012 No comments

What if we stopped listening to the fear-based news about cyberbullying, over-sharing, and loss of privacy?

What if we focused on research that doesn’t make for a scary headline on the evening news?

Would it surprise you to learn that a recent study by the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and the Pew Internet Project showed 69 percent of teens reporting that their peers are mostly kind on social networking sites?

A Platform for Good is a new FOSI project aimed at changing the conversation about kids and technology. The site is designed for parents, teens, and teachers to share information and to do good online. A Platform for Good features a blog written by experts in the field, a resource center with videos and curriculum for teachers, and many other interactive features.

For more information, see Announcing “A Platform for Good” – A Place to Connect, Share and Do Good or go directly to A Platform for Good.

What’s your online reputation?

January 25th, 2012 No comments

Most of us put a boundary between our personal and professional lives. Online that’s not easy to do.

In the Official Microsoft blog, Brendon Lynch, Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer, writes, “Every piece of personal information that exists online about you — whether posted by you or by others — has the potential to impact how you are perceived by family and friends, an employer, a mortgage lender, and more.”

That’s why, on Data Privacy Day 2012, Microsoft is providing information and resources about how you can manage your personal information online.

Top tips to manage your information online

  1. Stay vigilant and conduct your own “reputation report” from time to time.
  2. Consider separating your professional and personal profiles.
  3. Adjust your privacy settings.

 Get the rest of these tips and learn more about how to safeguard your online reputation:

Making the Internet safer for children

December 15th, 2011 No comments