Internet

No-Click November

No-Click November

It’s November again. Cyber Security Awareness month (October) just passed but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to keep practicing all the online safety tips we learned; quite the opposite actually, now that we have gotten more informed about online security, we must implement those tips daily and share our knowledge with everyone that surrounds us.

This year is coming to an end, yet new security exploits show up every day to attack the cyberspace. Holidays are coming, and NOW is as good a time as ever to learn/review security tips regarding where we “click”. Even the most security savvy are prompt to distractedly click here or there and fall for a scam before even realizing it. During this month, we will be sharing tips through all of our social media gadgets, to properly prepare you to enter the Internet battlefield, a place full of web links, attachments, and tricky “click-here’s”.

The amount of people who go online everyday only gets bigger and bigger, and so does the time they stay online. Phishing attacks and identity theft attempts are a threat to us most of the time we are navigating through the cyberspace, which is why we should stay protected always, and since the internet is a shared resource, our duty is also to create awareness and make sure others stay secure as well.

From malicious links send through email, to suspicious attachments and even “x” (cancel) buttons in ads and popups, the possibility to fall for an attack is just one click away. And the best way to protect yourself is being vigilant where you navigate, and take every precaution possible.

This month we also have Computer Security Day (Nov. 30th). This is a great month to remind you to keep your computer and information safe. Learn how in our Securing Your Computer section.

Tips to help you identify when not to click:

  • Don’t simply trust information from sources you don’t know. If you have to click a link, cut and paste the information into the browser to make sure it’s a legit site.
  • Make sure you know where short links are taking you to. A good way to find out is by copying and pasting them into a "link expander" such as KnowURL.com or LongURL.org
  • Before clicking on links on emails, especially if you don’t know the source, rest your mouse (without clicking) on the link and make sure the address is the same one typed in the email.
  • Try to always investigate the source of a link before clicking it. Don’t trust what comes to you from strangers.
  • Beware of scammers in popular websites. In some sites like Pinterest, you might click on someone’s board and realize that it takes you to a complete different address than what the pin was about. Be cautious when clicking on other people’s content.
  • Be careful with websites that demand you to download a video codec or software to view something. It will most likely lead you to download malware.
  • Read before you click. If you don’t find the terms and conditions worth reading, then don’t put your security at risk agreeing with them.
  • We recommend you enable site checking and add an anti-phishing toolbar to your browser. These last ones help detect and may block known phishing sites.
  • Just because a friend posts or "likes" a shared link it doesn’t mean that it is safe to access, hackers often disguise links as interesting content to get to you, but this malware will likely affect your computer or mobile device in many of harmful ways.
  • We often ignore pop ups reminding us to update our computer security software. In this case, DO click, as soon as you can. An important part of staying safe is keeping them up to date.

 

The online shopping boom aroused by Black Friday also makes this month appropriate to share security tips so you can protect yourself from false special sales and ads that try to trick you into believing that they are leading you to get a great deal. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Listen to your instincts! 

Check our Online Shopping tips and follow us on all of our social media gadgets for daily tips and information.

Facebook: RIT Information Security / Twitter: @RIT_InfoSec / Google+: RIT Information Security Pinterest: RIT InfoSec Instagram: @RIT_infosec 

Browser Configuration

Browser Configuration

One of the easiest “technologies” to keep your information and computer safe is properly configuring the security settings on your web browser.  Most people leave the settings at default because it’s convenient, but not taking those extra couple minutes now can mean many costly hours (or weeks) later if your information gets compromised.

Below are some setting suggestions and how to complete them on the most common browsers.  Settings may vary based on browser version, and we recommend always updating your browser to the most current version to ensure the most recent patches and security features are applied.

  1. Limit Cookie Storage
  2. Don’t Store Passwords or Allow Sites to Remember Your Form Entries
  3. Disable Pop-ups
  4. Limit Plug-ins and Add-ons
  5. Enable Automatic Site Checking
  6. Prompt for Downloads
  7. Clear Browsing Data/Temporary Internet Files

1. Limit Cookie Storage

Cookies are data files a webpage puts on your computer that tracks information about you.  Cookies can be helpful like remembering what item you put in your shopping cart while you continue shopping.  Cookies can also send data to third-parties that you are not aware of or keep your login data on a webpage on a public computer after you are done using it.  To help protect your data, we suggest changing your settings to initially block most or all cookies and only enable cookies for certain sites as you come across them. 

NOTE: First-party cookies (cookies for the domain you are on) help with the general web browsing feel we are all used to, for example, staying logged into your bank account site as you navigate from your checking to your savings account.  Therefore, blocking cookies entirely may not be ideal for your browsing needs.  Third-party cookies (cookies not specifically attached to the domain you visited) often are the cookies that contain issues and compromise data and can be blocked without interfering with you day-to-day web activities.

To configure cookies, select:

INTERNET
EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Privacy | Advanced, and:

  1. Select Override automatic cookie handling.
  2. Select Prompt or Accept for first- party cookies and Block for third-party cookies.  If you select Prompt, it will ask for each site what you want to keep, which is helpful for limiting cookie use but will have a lot notifications.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Privacy, and:

  1. Under History, select Use Custom Setting for History.
  2. Uncheck at least Accept third-party cookies.  You may instead want to uncheck Accept cookies from sites to block all cookies and enable individual cookies as you need to.
  3. Change the Keep Until value to I close Firefox so it won’t store first-party cookies after you close your browser window

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Privacy, and under Block cookies, select From third parties and advertisers.  You can also block all cookies if you wish by selecting Always and enable individual cookies as you need to.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings | Show Advanced Settings.  Under Privacy click Content settings.  Under Cookies, set the following:

  1. Select Keep local data only until I quit my browser.  You can instead select Block sites for setting any data if you want to elect which cookies to allow as you visit each site.
  2. Check Block third-party cookies and site data.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Cookies, and:

  1. Select Accept cookies only from the site I visit to disable third-party cookies.  You can instead select Never accept cookies if you want elect which cookies to allow as you visit each site.
  2. Check Delete new cookies when exiting Opera.

 

2. Don’t Store Passwords or Allow Sites to Remember Your Form Entries

Some webpages ask if you want to store information such as credit cards, usernames or passwords.  They may also give you the option to stay logged in or to “remember me.”  Having websites remember your information is like writing down a password on a piece of paper and sticking it on your front door.  Anyone who looks at the right door will see it.  To help yourself, be conscious of what you tell sites to remember and configure the following settings:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options, and:

  1. Select Advanced.  Then under Security, check Do not save encrypted pages to disk.
  2. Select Content.  Then under Autocomplete, click Settings and uncheck all.
  3. Select Privacy.  Then check Never allow websites to request your physical location.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options |Options | Privacy, and:

  1. Under Tracking, select Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked.
  2. Under History, select Use Custom Setting for History. Uncheck Remember my browsing and download history.  Uncheck Remember search and form history.

Also select Main Menu | Options |Options | Security, and uncheck Remember passwords for sites.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences, and:

  1. Select Autofill and uncheck all.
  2. Select Privacy and check Ask websites not to track me.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, and:

  1. Under Privacy, click Content settings.  Under location, select Ask me when a site tries to track my physical location.
  2. Under Passwords and forms, uncheck Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click and uncheck Offer to save passwords I enter on the web.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences, and:

  1. Select Forms.  Uncheck Enable Password Manager.  Also do not enter any of the saved form data.
  2. Select Advanced |Security.  Check Ask websites not to track me.

NOTE:  If you would like to save your passwords because you created very strong passwords that may be hard to remember, we suggest an external password vault service that encrypts your password information locally and stores the encrypted information for you in the cloud.  Some popular ones are LastPass (https://lastpass.com/index.php), RoboForm (http://www.roboform.com), and 1Password (https://agilebits.com/onepassword).

 

3. Disable Pop-ups

Pop-ups are generally advertisements or other little windows that force you to pay attention to them before you can get back to the webpage you are on.  This is a great advertising gimmick, but it’s also dangerous because a malicious pop-up may have a virus download on all links within the pop-up, including the Ok and Cancel buttons.  Crafty popups even make it so the X at the top of the window to close it contains a virus download.  Pop-ups may also take you to sites that can phish your information or otherwise trick you into putting yourself at risk.

Smart web developers have learned to not put content in pop-ups, so blocking all pop-ups should not negatively affect your browsing experience.  You can always allow certain pop-ups as you go if you need them.  Block all pop-ups by selecting:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Privacy, and check Turn on Pop-up Blocker.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Content, and click Block pop-up windows.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Security, and check Block pop-up windows.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, under Privacy click Content settings.  Select Do not allow any site to show pop-ups.

OPERA 12

Main Menu |Settings |Preferences |General, and select Block all pop-ups

 

4. Limit Plug-ins and Add-ons

Downloaded toolbars, plug-ins and add-ons can be helpful for enhancing your browsing experience, but the more items you attach to your browser, the more possible vulnerabilities there are for an attacker to exploit.  Additionally, attackers may use Active X, JavaScript, VBScript, and Java to run malicious code on a website without your knowledge.   Unfortunately, many legitimate pages use JavaScript as part of their functionality.  Limiting these types of scripts, though, can help protect you from a surprise malware download.  We suggest blocking most or all and enabling individual sites as you go by performing the following:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Advanced.  Under Browsing, uncheck Enable third-party browser extensions (add-ons).

You will also want to select Security and click the Internet icon. Change the setting to High for the “Internet” zone.  Click the Trusted Sites icon and set this to Medium.  Add sites to the Trusted list as you go.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu  | Options | Options, and:

  1. Select Content and uncheck Enable JavaScript.  If desired you can keep Enable JavaScript checked, but click Advanced and uncheck all to limit JavaScript actions.
  2. Select Security, and check Warn when sites try to install add-ons.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Security, and uncheck Enable JavaScript, uncheck Allow Java, and uncheck Allow all other plug-ins.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings. Under Privacy, click Content settings and:

  1.  Under JavaScript, select Do not allow any site to run JavaScript.
  2. Under Plug-ins, select Block all (you can instead select Click to play to be prompted).
  3.  Under Unsandboxed plug-in access, select Ask me when a site wants to use a plug-in to access my computer.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings |Preferences | Advanced | Content, and uncheck Enable JavaScript, uncheck Enable Java, and uncheck Enable plug-Ins.  If desired you can keep Enable JavaScript checked, but click JavaScript Options and uncheck all to limit JavaScript actions.

 

5. Enable Automatic Site Checking

Automatic Site Checking or other filters such as this will check webpages you visit against known fraudulent or malicious websites (a blacklist) and warns or blocks you before loading the page.  These features may also scan webpages for suspicious characteristics and flag you of potentially hazardous sites (which can be added to the blacklist if need be).

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Tools |Safety | Turn on SmartScreen Filter.

FIREFOX 21

Must be turned on by selecting Main Menu | Options | Options | Security.  Check Block reported attack sites and check Block reported web forgeries.

SAFARI 6

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Safari | Preferences | Security, and check Warn when visiting a fraudulent website.

CHROME 27

This feature may be automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Chrome Menu | Settings, and under Privacy check Enable phishing/malware protection.

OPERA 12

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Security and check Enable Fraud and Malware Protection

 

6. Prompt for Downloads

The Automatic Site checking mentioned above can help review downloads for malware, but there are other settings you can configure that can help alert when something is about to download in case you accidently click a link and realize you shouldn’t be downloading that item.  Even just prompting you to tell the browser where to save the file can make you pause and think about what you are downloading.  You should always be careful what you download and from where, and scan all email attachments and downloads with your anti-virus software.

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Security |Custom Level.  Under Downloads, select Enable for Automatic prompting for file downloads.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Main, and under Downloads check Always ask me where to save files.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | General and uncheck Open “safe” files after downloading.

NOTE:  Just because Safari labels the file extension as “safe” doesn’t mean it actually is.  It’s also smart to open downloads only after the anti-virus scans them.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, and under Downloads, check Ask where to save each file before downloading.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Downloads.  Here you can manage what to do for each type of file you may download.  For example, we recommend for EXE and BAT files to select Show the download dialog.

 

7. Clear Browsing Data/Temporary Internet Files

This removes all stored web data on your computer (cookies, cache, history, stored passwords/autofill data, etc.).  Since we just went through blocking new data from being saved, it’s smart to clear out any data that is currently there.   It’s also a good idea to repeat this step regularly to ensure any data that does still get saved, gets cleared.

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools |Safety | Delete browsing history. Check the items to remove and click Delete.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu |History | Clear Recent History.  In the dropdown, change the amount of time you want to go back (recommended: Everything).  Click the arrow next to Details, check the items to remove and click Clear now.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Reset Safari. Check the items to remove and click Reset.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Tools | Clear Browsing Data. In the dropdown, change the amount of time you want to go back (recommended: The beginning of time).  Check the items to remove and click Clear browsing data.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Delete Private Data.  Check the items to remove and click Delete.

 

Private Browsing Windows

Many browsers also have a feature that allows you to navigate the web without saving search history, form information, cached information, and some cookies.  While private browsing windows and tabs can be a start to keeping your information safe, it should not be relied on as a means to be “off the grid” or as a total replacement for the security settings mentioned above.

Browser

What It’s Called

How to Set It

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

InPrivate Browsing

Tools | Safety | InPrivate Browsing

FIREFOX 21

Private Browsing

Main Menu  | New Private Window

SAFARI 6

Private Browsing

Safari | Private Browsing

CHROME 27

Incognito Mode

Chrome Menu  | New Incognito Window

OPERA 12

Private Tab/Window

Main Menu  | Tabs and Windows | New Private Window

 

SECURITY NOTE:

Using these recommended security settings do not negate the effects of malware that could already be installed on your computer.  For example, keyloggers can capture your data even if your browser doesn’t save it.  Be sure to keep your anti-virus up-to-date and scan your computer regularly for threats.  These security settings also do not exempt you from phishing attacks.  Be careful what information you share online and never provide your password to anyone.  More details can be found in various sections of our Best Practices pages (http://www.rit.edu/security/content/keeping-safe).

Online Safety

Online Safety

Everyone connected to the Internet is a potential target. Use of anti-virus and firewall software is critical in protecting your computer online; however, simply protecting your computer is not enough. 

Web Browsers

Cyber criminals often target vulnerabilities in web browsers. Because Internet Explorer is the web browser used by most people, it has become a primary target. Using a different browser can reduce your risk while on the web. The table below lists alternative browsers:

Browser

Operating System

License

Firefox

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free (open source)

Chrome

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free

Opera

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free

Safari

Mac OS X

Free

Configure Settings

Changing the default security settings can help protect you while browsing.  Learn more here.

Update Regularly

It is important to keep your browser up-to-date on security patches. This can typically be done from within the browser, or directly from the vendor’s website. Check for updates at least monthly.

Note: If you use Internet Explorer with RIT Oracle Applications, you may not be able to use the newest versions of Internet Explorer are not certified for compatibility with Oracle at this time.

Use Limited Account Privileges

Learn more here.

Be Smart With What you Do Online

View our pages on Social Networking and Online Banking/Shopping.  Also look for posts on our blog about identity theft, online banking, and scams. 

Virtual Private Networks

Virtual Private Networks

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that allows for secure transmissions across the Internet between two networks by using a secure "virtual tunnel." Without using VPN, data (including passwords and confidential information) transmitted via the Internet is exposed and can be intercepted by third parties.

VPN should always be used to access RIT resources that are normally unavailable to users outside of the wired Institute network (such as department-specific services and network shares). This means that unless you are at a wired machine on campus, you must connect to the Institute network using VPN if you wish to access any private intranet resources. Your supervisor will notify you if the systems you work with require VPN.

VPN must be used when accessing RIT Confidential information on the Institute network from a remote location.

Visit the ITS VPN site to download the VPN software and find instructions and additional documentation.

 

Keeping Safe

Keeping Safe: Guidelines and Best Practices

Not sure how to keep yourself, your information, and your devices safe? Click on the headings below for best practices, resources, and more; also be sure to check out our blog for more specific content, answers to your information security questions, and best practices guides!

Subject Area

Comments

Securing your Computer

Free downloads and instructions to support the Desktop and Portable Computer Standard.

Mobile Devices

Learn how to safely use mobile devices when dealing with Private Information or everyday use.

Phishing

Learn how to recognize these common online scams.

Safe Blogging and Social Networking

Is a potential employer reading? Learn how much information is too much and how to protect yourself on social networking sites.

Wireless Networking

Learn about wireless networking at RIT, at home, and on public networks; and the potential dangers you face.

Web Browsing Safely

Learn about the different web browsers available, add-ons that can improve security, and how to browse using limited account privileges.

Identity Theft

Did you know that people aged 18-29 are five times more likely to be victims of identity theft than those 60 or older?

Instant Messaging

Tips on how to avoid malware and scams through instant messaging.

Safe Online Shopping and Banking

How to use these popular online services securely.

Digital Copyright

Are you aware that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) files copyright violations and has sued students at RIT? Visit the ITS Digital Copyright page to learn more about copyright violations at RIT and how they are handled.
Browser Security Configuration Outlines how to configure various security settings for common browsers.
Cloud Computing Information on secure cloud service use.

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Internet