Stay Safe Online

Students cheer on the Redhawks during a sporting event at Miami University.

Protecting yourself and your information online can be just as important as protecting yourself ‘in real life’. We recommend taking the following broad guidelines as a starting point for thinking about how to stay safe from identity theft, financial loss, false information, scammers, stalkers, hackers, and the sad, bored individuals who just want to offend you.

Protect your data

  • Be mindful and wary of the devices, applications, and companies that store and have access to your sensitive and personal information. Ensure those instances that are necessary are protected and those that are not are eliminated.
    • Lock your devices when not in use and securely erase storage on all devices before disposing of them.
    • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Use strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts and devices that you can (and use a password manager like LastPass or KeePass to keep track of them).
    • Keep your operating systems and software up to date and validate the trustworthiness of the applications and files you download.
  • Be mindful of how you transmit your sensitive information. Use secure websites and secure Wi-Fi connections or VPN. Avoid sharing sensitive information over email, chat, or phone. Validate anyone requesting your information.

Protect yourself and your communities

Maintain vigilance and sensible caution in the digital realm. Be suspicious of unexpected email or chat messages, tantalizing job offers, or web links. When in doubt: STOP. VALIDATE. DELETE.

More information about phishing

Don’t over-advertise yourself. Bad actors and hackers are just as interested in you as marketers. Consider the audience that will be able to access what you post or send and ask yourself if everyone in that audience needs to know. Make sure the metadata of the videos, pictures, and other files you upload doesn’t give away more information than you want.

Be careful who you meet and trust. When using virtual meetings (e.g., Zoom, Webex) or social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram) take control of who can participate or interact with you by using private or invite-only virtual meetings, chat groups, and social media profiles. Don’t leave yourself and your communities open to bad actors looking to disrupt and offend.

Follow these links for security recommendations for these tools:

Be mindful and wary of misinformation (unintentional spread of false information) and disinformation (intentional spread of false information). Validate sources and reasoning. Don’t continue the spread as fact of that which can’t be supported.