Everywhere you go in life, you’ll find rules. Some rules are implied, such as “don’t eat spaghetti with your fingers”, while others like “don’t steal a city bus and spin donuts on your neighbor’s lawn” are coded into law. These rules are designed to serve a purpose such as keeping you safe or not annoying your neighbors. What if you don’t know the rules though? Courts across the land have long held that ignorance is no justification for commission of a crime, so what are you going to do? You may know the rules for walking around your neighborhood, but what about cruising through cyberspace? Stick with us, and we’ll guide you through a few rules of the electronic world with this month’s tech tips:
8 Handy Cyberspace Rules
- Rule: Don’t leave your browser open when you’re away from your computer.
- Reason: Your roommate, child, or roommate who acts like a child may think it is funny to post to Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest on your behalf.
- Rule: Don’t leave your computer logged in when you’re away from it.
- Reason: The above mentioned people may open your web browser, find you have stored your passwords to your favorite sites, log in to those sites, and proceed to (a) win an eBay auction for a Victorian-era lamp post; or (b) post to Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest on your behalf
- Rule: Don’t store your passwords in your web browser.
- Reason: See rule #2.
- Rule: Don’t throw your cellphone/laptop/tablet out the window of a moving vehicle in a fit of rage because it got stuck playing “Call Me Maybe” on a loop.
- Reason: Hackers may find your phone/laptop/tablet and steal all of your personal data.
- Rule: Don’t text message people when involved in a conversation with someone you are meeting face-to-face.
- Reason: They may take your phone and throw it out the window of a moving vehicle. See Rule #4.
- Rule: Don’t forward chain letters, Facebook posts, or mass mailings, unless you don’t like the people on your mailing list, or unless that is your job. In either case, doing so isn’t bound to make you friends.
- Reason: The internet only has so many packets available. If you use all the packets posting on Facebook or sending mass emails, Al Gore may come looking for you for taking down his internet. Kidding aside, it’s a good way to pass a worm, virus, or trojan along to unsuspecting users.
- Rule: Don’t hit reply all unless you really, really need to hit reply all. Go on, think long and hard about it. Does everyone really need to know you accepted that Facebook friend request from Sir Spamsalot?
- Reason: If everyone starts doing it, it can actually be comical. That is until it takes down all the email servers from here to West Virginia.
- Rule: Don’t be afraid to read those email messages you get from Nigerian princes or international lottery agents telling you about your good fortune. Just don’t open any attachments or click on any links. Then again, maybe just delete the email.
- Reason: It is good to familiarize yourself with the scams out there these days. You cannot get a virus from reading an email, but you can get one from clicking a bad link or opening a malicious file.
If you are interested reading some case studies on what is real and what is fake on the internet (and other mediums), check out Snopes for debunking of rumors and myths you thought to be true, just because the internet doesn’t lie.