General Online Safety Tips

| May 26, 2014

Over 30,000 websites are hacked each day according to Forbes.com. The easiest way for a hacker to get into your site and begin spreading malware or making noticeable changes to your site is to not take the necessary steps to protect yourself online, which begins with basic Internet safety.

 

While these tips probably seem like common knowledge it’s good to review with a new staff each year, both for their personal safety, and for the freshmen who have not had a lot of experience using some of these digital tools.

 

Jane Drews provided these tips. Drews has been an information security officer for the University of Iowa for the last 15 years and is currently the chief information security officer. These tips are useful for staffs to keep in mind when setting up their profiles at the beginning of the year, but also for individuals to keep in mind for personal accounts as well.

 

  • Don’t use the same username and password across multiple accounts or sites.
  • Choose a long and complex password- lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols should all be part of a complex password.
  • If anything goes out on social media it can’t be taken back. It will be stored in various places on the web even if the original tweet, post, photo, or whatever is deleted.
  • Regularly change the password if it’s being shared among multiple people.
  • Set up guidelines for acceptable use of the publication’s social media accounts.

 

When coming up with a password Drews did mention that there are several apps available that will generate and store complex passwords for you. Several members of the JEA Digital Media committee are using the 1password app on their iPhones and desktop computers and are very happy with it, and say the $18 cost is worth it.

 

There are also a variety of websites that can be found by searching “strong password generator” for those who want to keep track of their passwords manually rather than storing them in the phone.
These are all basic tips that those who routinely deal with technology already use, but as summer draws near, and teachers think about how to start off the 2014-2015 school year, these might be good tips to pass on to incoming freshmen. They would also serve as a good refresher for all publication staff members at the beginning of the year.

About the Author:

Kyle Phillips is the newspaper and student news website adviser at Cedar Rapids George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is the secretary of the Iowa High School Press Association and was named a 2014 Rising Star by the Journalism Education Association.
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