Getting Set Up Online Securely
The first step in online security is connecting to the internet, and understanding the basics of the web/web security.
The first step to ensuring your online security is getting set up and connected to the internet correctly. If you’re unfamiliar with the internet it can seem laborious to complete all the steps necessary to guarantee safe browsing, but it’s absolutely necessary. Use the below steps to setup your machine and ensure it’s safe to use.
- Understand the basics of how to use a computer: After turning the computer on, you will need to set up your user profile and choose your settings.
- How to sign into the computer: During the initial setup of your computer you will be prompted to create a unique username and password used to sign into your computer. Learn how to choose a secure password. When your computer is turned on a sign in screen will appear, allowing you to type in this username and password in order to use the computer. This screen will vary by device, but will almost always lead you straight to your computers dashboard.
- How to access files: You can store documents and photos in what are called “files” on your computer. You can create a file by right clicking your screen, naming the folder, and then dragging any desired files or photos into the folder.
- How to log onto the internet: To log into the internet you will need to open your browser and type in a web address. Browsers can vary: for Microsoft computers the default browser is Internet Explorer, but you can also use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. On Apple/Mac computers the default browser is Safari, but you can also download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as well. Every website has a unique address or URL that must be typed in at the top of the screen.
- Secure your internet router: Once your internet service provider has hooked up your connection they will give you a router. This can be wireless or wired. Ensuring your router is password-protected helps shield you from unwanted attackers, and ensures that no one else will piggyback off your connection. Fortunately, most internet service providers will help you set up a wireless router, which includes setting up a unique username and password for the device. Your router should also come with encryption capabilities built in. Ensure that these are turned on. Turning on the encryption settings can vary by device and carrier, so don’t be afraid to ask for help setting this up.
- Since every router is different, here is a list of some of the most popular ones and links to their support pages for setting up and securing your router:
- Making the device accessible: If you’re physically, hearing- or vision-impaired, you can make your device easier to use by implementing certain add ons. For example, if you have vision issues you can use your device without a screen by using a narrator, use the built-in magnifier, or make apps and text bigger. There’s even a way to read in braille. For the hearing impaired, you can transcribe voice to text, which allows you to hear what’s being said in videos.There are options for mono audio as well as notification timing and closed captioning. There are also modifications for the physically impaired like voice commands and a voice-command activated digital assistant. A numeric keyboard can be used instead of a mouse or you can personalize your keyboard to make it easier to use. There are numerous adaptations to make your device more accessible, and it varies by computer make and model. The guides below can show you what is available on your computer!
- Basics of the internet: Once you’ve opened your browser you can begin to surf the internet. You will be able to search for information on Google and use email and social media websites to communicate.
- Search engines: The most popular search engine, Google, is a wealth of information. The web address for Google is “www.google.com.” Once your browser pulls up the website you will see a search bar in the middle of the screen. Here you can type in any question and Google will provide a list of search results that correlate with your question. This list can span several pages. Usually the first three results that show at the top of the first search page are the most reliable or closest matches to your search.
- Social Media: Social media sites can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. These websites allow you to have conversations, connect via message or view pictures of the other person’s life. The most popular social media sites are Facebook Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and they all have different features and specialties. To access these, you will need to create a username and password.
- Email: You will want to set up an email account once you’re online so that you can send email to your friends and family. This will also act as the method by which you receive login credentials to other sites such as social media sites, so this will be one of the first things you will need to do. There are many free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft Outlook Simply go onto their website, choose a unique login and password (learn how to choose a secure password) and submit some basic information. Once you’re set up, you should be able to compose and send an email, as well as receive those that are sent to you.
- Start with effective security practices: Follow the basic security practices below to ensure that your device, and the information it houses, is safe.
- Installing anti-virus software: It’s incredibly important to install a strong anti-virus software onto your computer. This software will protect you from malicious “viruses” or “malware” that can infect your computer and steal sensitive information.You can protect your computer against these by choosing a robust anti-virus program and keeping it up to date. Anti-virus software alerts you when your computer is at risk of contracting a virus, scans your computer for harmful files, and quarantines or destroys them.
- Setting your computer to automatically update: To ensure that your computer always has the most up to date applications and capabilities, it’s good practice to set your computer to update automatically.