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Do your teens know friend from foe when they’re online? This game will test their knowledge about online friends.

How To Keep Your Personal Information Safe Online

When you spend time online, you could unknowingly be putting your personal information at risk and making it easier for someone to steal your identity.

Use these tips to help keep your personal information safe online:

Choose strong passwords: Make sure your passwords have a mix of letters, numbers and special characters, if the site you’re registering for allows it. And don’t use the same password across multiple sites. If one site gets hacked, the hacker will be able to access your information through accounts that use the same password.

Access personal information from a secure connection: When using a free, public Wi-Fi hotspot, only log in or send personal information to sites you know are fully encrypted. Look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure) and a lock icon at the top or bottom of your browser window. Log out of every site before signing off.

Read the privacy policy: Make sure you understand how an organization might use your information once you sign up. Review the policy a few times a year so you are always aware of how your information is being used.

If you realize your personal information has been stolen or used inappropriately, contact the police, place a fraud alert on your accounts, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Which Schools Have the Best Broadband Connections?

Map showing broadband access across the United States

Access to broadband at school gives teachers and students access to a wealth of online educational resources. With a quality broadband connection, students from rural areas, inner cities and the suburbs have equal access to the same educational tools.

To see which areas of the country have high quality broadband access, view the interactive Education Broadband Map.

How to Stay Safe With Wifi

Whether you’re waiting to board an airplane or hanging out at a neighborhood café, public wireless networks can be a great way to stay connected.

Convenient? Yes. Secure? Hmm, not so much.

Unfortunately, most hotspots don’t encrypt what goes over the internet.  So if you send email, manage your calendar, use social networks, or transmit financial data while using a public network, you may make it easier for hackers to access your accounts. In fact, new hacking tools – freely available online – make it easy to access unencrypted information, which could be used to scam you or someone you care about.

  • When using a WiFi hotspot, only log in or send personal info to sites you know are fully encrypted.  Look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure) and a lock icon at the top or bottom of your browser window.  Some sites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, you could be at risk.  So check for https and the lock icon the whole time you’re on the site, not just when you sign in.
  • Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’ve finished, log out.
  • Don’t use the same password on different websites. Otherwise, a hacker who steals one password may be able to access a bunch of your accounts.
  • If you travel a lot or use the local coffee shop as your office, consider a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can get a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider.

Finally, visit the Wifi Hotspot page at OnGuard Online for more Internet safety tips and share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Nicole Vincent is a Consumer Education Specialist at the Federal Trade Commission.