Safe Computing for our Community

How would you define community? It it where we live? How about who we work with? Maybe it's the church we attend. It could also be the part of the neighborhood in which we live. For our intent and purposes, community is defined as where we live: specifically our Town. We could also more broadly apply it many other places as the ideas we'll present are standard best practices for using our online presence properly. Community safety is not just the purview of our Police Department. It's our job to help keep our family, friends, neighbors and local businesses safe. Cybersecurity is part of that. Just as we lock our doors at night and keep our porch lights on at night to deter theft and invasions of privacy, we'll look at some areas we can adjust to keep our Town more secure at a digital level.

Stop oversharing

Teach our family about responsible sharing
  • The Internet never goes away - what we post can never be fully deleted. Help your family understand that the information we share online can easily be copied, shared and posted elsewhere. Learn to consider who can see a post and how it might be perceived.
  • Remember the golden rule - post only about others as you would have them post about you. What we do and say online can positively or negatively affect other people in our community.
  • Value your personal information and protect it - it is currency. Your families information has value to service providers, retailers and vendors. Be selective with the information you provide to apps and websites.
  • Own your virtual self - Be aware of your and your families online presence. Teach your children about privacy and security settings on their favorite games and websites. It's OK to limit who can see your information and what you share.
  • Be aware of what we share - When you post a picture or video online, you may also be sharing information about others or personal details about yourself you may not want strangers to know.
  • Online game chat is an easy place to overshare. Make sure your kids are aware of what should not be shared with the online gaming community.

think about where you are and what you're doing

Be aware of your virtual surroundings
  • Aggregation is King - the problem with much of what we read on the Internet is it is not actually verified by a third party. It isn't vetted or corroborated by trusted sources. It is simply gathered from other web sites across the Internet. This practice is called aggregation and it's cheap and easy. It drives people to websites and generates money. It also means that an incorrect news item may be repeated hundreds of times as other websites pick up on and repeat it without verification.
  • Very few things in life are actually completely free of obligation. The Internet is no different. Many of services we use on the Internet are, of course, paid for through advertising. While this may seem so simple, we often forget that our Internet browsing habits, where we shop, what emails we read and more are being catalogued by our service provider. They then use this data to create information on the type of consumer we are and send us targeted advertising.
  • Know what information is being collected about you, why it's being collected and how it will be used. Only use products and services who are upfront with their privacy policy and that you agree with.
  • Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use. Not only does this waste battery power, retailers can use it to track your movements through their store.
  • When in doubt, throw it out - links in tweets, posts, texts and email are often the way criminals gain access to our personal information. If it seems suspicious, delete it.

Connect with Confidence

We can be a safe, virtual community
  • Remember there is no substitute for talking to someone in person. We miss a lot of visual cues and verbal tone when communicating virtually. Actually seeing and conversing with someone physically is a far superior way to communicate than via the Internet.
  • Remember that meaning is difficult to convey when texting, emailing and using social media. You may think someone meant a message in a certain way when they had no intention of conveying their meaning that way.
  • Ignore emails or communications that create a sense of urgency and require you to respond to a crisis, such as a problem with your bank account or taxes. This message is likely a scam.
  • People are not always who they say they are online. Predators use the anonymity of the Internet to defraud and lure others to disclose information about themselves they normally wouldn't.
  • Don't have personal conversations online. If someone is getting too personal or asking for too much information stop the communication.