How can I use the internet safely?

You can use the internet safely by making sure your personal information is secure and keeping your computer safe.

Protect Your Personal Information

  • Use safe passwords - Pick a password that is hard to guess and has upper- and lower-case letters and numbers. Use different passwords for different accounts and change them regularly. Don't tell anyone your passwords or leave them in easy-to-find locations.
  • Control your personal information - Dont give personal details, such as your real name, birthday, address or credit card information to sources you don't trust. If you do provide this information, make sure it is to a secure web page (https).
  • Change your privacy settings - You can modify your privacy settings on most social networks to control who has access to your personal information.
  • Be careful on public networks and computers - Public networks include internet connections that are not private or password protected, or networks where others have access to your internet activity (such as at work). Don't save passwords or send credit card information on public networks or computers.
  • Clear your browser history - Your internet browser stores information about websites you have visited recently. Clear your browser history regularly.

Protect your Computer

Update your software regularly and make sure your personal computer has a firewall. Use anti-virus software and run regular checks.

You can avoid computer viruses if you:

  • Don't click on unknown links or download suspicious files - Decide if a link is for a website you trust before clicking on it. Don't trust short links (e.g. bit.ly) unless you know the person who posted it. Don't download something from a source you don't trust.
  • Don't open spam - Spam can be harmful for your computer. If you get an email from someone that looks too good to be true, it is probably spam.

For More Information

  • Internet Security Tools - Descriptions of different tools you can use to stay safe online. From the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Protecting Yourself from Spam - Find out what spam is, how to identify it, and how to protect yourself. From the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • Privacy on the Go – 10 steps you can take to protect personal information on your mobile devices, such as laptops, phones or tablets. From the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • What You Need to Know to Protect Your Identity [PDF] - Information about identify theft and a list of agencies that can help you. From the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
Last updated: November 7, 2016 4001530