Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Fact-checking email warnings, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- At one time or another, you've probably gotten an e-mail from someone containing a warning or an offer for a company. The warning could be about a computer virus or about a new terrible crime going around. The offer could be something that sounds too good to be true, like this one here. So, how do you know what to believe? Take this offer that someone just e-mailed me about PlayStations. This is currently making the rounds on social networks, like Facebook. When I get one of these from someone, or if I'm just not sure, I always verify it first at a website called Snopes.com.
Snopes is run by a couple who has been doing this full-time since 1995. It started out as something called The Urban Legends Reference Pages, but since then it's evolved into the one place to go for the truth, as the site values facts and evidence above all else. You can go to the site, come down here to the search box and type in your query. Click go, and it will take you to some search results. They're very current to any e-mail forwards that are going around. So, here's the current one that I found in my inbox.
I'm going to click on it and see what it has to say. You can see the claim, and then if you scroll down in a little bit, you'll see very quickly whether it's true or false or if it's partially true or false. You can also scroll down and read an explanation of the facts and of the origin of the rumor itself. This is helpful, so you're doing your part to prevent spreading false information, but what I also like to do is send off a polite note, explaining about Snopes and how it works. It's very hard to know what to believe on the internet, and situations like these are a great opportunity to reply to these e-mails and educate other people on how to search for it themselves, find out whether it's true, and how to use Snopes.com to keep everybody safe and so down low for next time also.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings