PSA: How To Internet Safely

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Hope, Aug 1, 2016.

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  1. PSA Of The Day:
    How To Internet Safely
    Hello Lovelies! It's that time again to talk about how to be safe on the internet. I know this topic seems a bit redundant and like the lot of it is common sense. However, it is good to have a refresher every so often if just to remind you how serious it is to keep your privacy when communicating on the internet.

    Now most of the people you're going to meet here on Iwaku are good people. Sometimes strange, but good nonetheless. ;D Unfortunately, there is always that 2% that are BAD. Whether they are annoying trolls, or seriously dangerous predators it is important to keep a close eye on what information you are handing out to, let's be honest, strangers.

    So let's talk about ways to remain safe:

    Do not give out your IRL name unless you are REALLY comfortable with who you are talking to.
    Even if you feel like you really know the person you are talking to you should ask yourself "Does this person need this information?" There is no shame in keeping your personal information personal. This is especially true for teenagers, and even more true for people in their young teens. Furthermore, do not share other people's personal information. You may think it's harmless and only in passing, but it is a big deal. Not only is it violating someone's privacy, but you are potentially putting another person in harm. This includes sharing their name, Facebook page, school they attend, where they live (even if you only mention the state), their birthday, etc... Just because you may be comfortable sharing your information with others doesn't mean they are.

    What does your profile say about you?
    You'd be surprised how much information someone could gather on you by your profile alone. Do you include your birth year/graduating year in your username? "JaneDoe87." These types of usernames are incredibly easy to spot. How about your location? Does it list your real town/state? Now if you've ever mentioned your name in passing a predator may potentially have your name, how old you are, and generally where you live. That is sufficient information to start searching for you online. Now a lot of you list your age/birthday on your profile, and that is okay so long as you don't hand out a lot of other personal information along with it. Being in Security, I am in constant shock at how many members I come across that list their real name, age, and location in their "About Me" section of their profiles. That is pretty much handing out all of your privacy on a silver platter to whomever wants it as far as the internet is concerned. If you are doing this especially if you're a teen I highly encourage you to rethink this.

    Other ways you are handing out your information that you may not be aware of:

    • You post a picture of yourself. Is your real name in the link of the picture?
    • You're in one of Iwaku's chat rooms and it's only you and one other person in the chat that you trust, so you don't see the harm in talking about more personal things such as your school, hometown, etc. But who is lurking?
    • You posted something a long time ago in let's say the Picture Thread, and even though you're being safe now you don't think it's a big deal to let it stay there. You can always delete your past posts. We do have members who scroll through the picture thread page by page.
    • Speaking of pictures... what's in the background? Your home address? Your name? Your school?
    • How about your Skype, Discord, Tumblr, etc.. What information do these post publicly about you?
    • Be careful who you give your Facebook account to! You'd be surprised HOW much information ca be dug up on the most private of accounts.
    Warning signs that someone has malicious intent:


    Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is crossing the line or is just socially awkward. Always listen to your gut and never be afraid to report suspicious behavior. This behavior may surface in the following ways:
    • They may be pressuring you to roleplay smut with them or send them pictures of yourself. It may sound like common sense but this is a big indicator of someone with malicious intentions. If someone is pressuring you in any way to provide personal information or to role play smut with them after you've told them no, you should ignore them and/or report them if you feel uncomfortable.
    • They are asking for your real name/ where you live, facebook account etc.. and you don't know them.
    • Someone tells you not to report something or you can 't report something. You can always report anything you find suspicious, harassing, malicious, etc...
    • If anyone tells you it's okay that you're not in the same age group and it's okay for you two role play smut over PM. This is absolutely NOT okay and they should be reported immediately. Smutting outside your age group knowingly is grounds for immediate ban.

    What to do if someone is making you feel uncomfortable:
    Ignore/block them. If they continue to bother you report them. That is what Security is here for. To keep the members of Iwaku and the Administrators safe from potential predators and legal liabilities. Never doubt your instincts because your gut feeling is most of the time correct. If you're ever unsure report, report, report. Do not be afraid of any social ramifications if you report someone. The report system is anonymous and the Staff is trained to handle all cases with the utmost discretion. We never tell someone who reported them. And as a rule of thumb it is better safe than sorry. If it turns out to be a misunderstanding at least it will be on record if something comes up down the road to somebody else.

    Is a Staff Member making you uncomfortable and you're afraid to report them? Use this Report a Staffer form. The only people who will see the report are the admins: @Diana @Vay @whateverRoryiscallinghimselfnow

    Never open links from people you do not know!:
    Often times they may be infected with viruses. There are lots of free anti virus programs available for download. One of them being Avast!. For a free virus scanner you can use Malwarebytes. It's free and good to use once a month. And as for a good free firewall you can use Zone Alarm. Giving credit to @Brovo for providing these links on the last Safety PSA.

    Don't Believe Me?
    Try this!

    Are you thinking, "Gosh, Hope you're so paranoid. We aren't dumb. We KNOW all this." then watch the following youtube link:

    Still Don't Believe Me?
    Try typing your real name, your email, and your user name into google and check out how much of your information is out there and how easy it is to access with very little to start with.

    If I've forgotten anything please feel free to post it in the comments below and be safe Iwaku! Security can only do so much, and we need to know about it if there is a problem so we can help. So don't forget to report!
    #1 Hope, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2016
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  2. Spyware*

    Erm, Internet Security is complicated, but I'll simplify it down.
    Layers of Security
    1. Router Firewall: First line of defense. This will not stop everything, but it will stop a lot more than it's often given credit for. Router Firewalls are best used to stop connections you didn't ask for. When you attempt to connect to a webpage, download a file, play an online game, or otherwise, you're requesting the connection and thus the router firewall won't help you nearly as much. Which is where we get to...
    2. Software Firewall: Second line of defense. All Windows operating systems come with a copy of Windows Firewall, which does an admirable job, but isn't the most secure, because every malware designer has access to it. If you want a free, more secure option than Windows, Zonealarm is a free alternative.
    3. Antivirus: Third and often final line of defense. This is a generalized form of defense that--assuming you use it properly--will eat viruses and worms for breakfast, but isn't as effective against spyware. Avast! Is a free tool I highly recommend--install it and will passively run to protect you.
    4. Anti-spyware: Tools specifically designed to clean up in case certain spyware does manage to infect your system. Trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, registry infections, et cetera. Malwarebytes is a free tool I highly recommend. The free version does not passively run and will require you to manually scan your computer from time to time.
    As a bonus, I fully recommend installing the Web of Trust tool. That way, you can preview the safety of a website before you click on it. Like this. You can just hover your mouse over the circle and see warnings like "malware" and "potentially illegal" and thus know to steer clear. You can also rate websites yourself to warn others. Avast! Comes with a similar tool you can install into your browsers. AdBlock and tools like Privacy Badger can help prevent malicious pop-ups from infesting your system and prevent trackers from watching your browser activity wherever you go, each respectively.

    How Most Security Errors Occur
    1. Your Password Is 123: Understand that most "hackers" are usually just using brute force tools to break into a secured system. The really special, overkill, god-tier gurus? They don't give a shit about you--they're too busy being hired by governments or being paranoid as fuck to give a shit about you. A brute force password cracker runs through every possible combination, starting with common phrases or passwords. The best password you can make is long, and a combination of unorthodox but memorable phrases, numbers, and special characters. So, for example: MyGrandma_B00r!Magic, Z1ppyD@appyD00dle, et cetera. The most secure password would be a massive clusterfuck of letters, numbers, and special characters in random order in excess of 24 characters, but we want a password you can remember yourself. Never use passwords relating to your life. Do not use your name, your dog's name, your favourite animal--anything you like that you might mention in conversation? Don't use it. Make it something so fucking random that only you will remember it, and only you could guess it.
    2. You Turned Off Security: I don't care if that's some of the most tantalizing pornography you're being promised. Don't ever fucking turn off security, not unless you know exactly what you're doing, and accept the risk you're taking.
    3. You Browsed A Skivvy Website: Piracy, Pornography, or Phishing scams. Any of these can throw viruses your way, because they most often don't care about malicious advertisements (or are actively attempting to infect your system for their own questionable reasons).
    4. Another Website You Use Is Compromised: Keep track of every online service you use. (Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, Twitter, Steam, Discord, Skype, et cetera.) If any of them have been hacked, ala a mass hacking scandal where millions of accounts have been compromised, change your password immediately. Never use the same password for your e-mail address you use to register an account on any website. If your e-mail password is "ILoveFerrets" do not fucking use "ILoveFerrets" or any derivative of that password anywhere else. The same goes for your banking passwords. Otherwise, if a hacker has your password from your neopets account you used from years ago, and it's the same as your e-mail password? They now have access to everything that e-mail is connected to.
    5. Use Two-Way Authentication: Whenever you can. It makes it a lot harder for anyone to just brute-force their way onto your online accounts when they have to get access to your phone number too. It's not impossible for them mind you, but it is harder.
    6. You Told Someone Your Personal Information: Okay. Get this through your head, because I'm going to tell you this... Once. DO NOT EVER SAY ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET THAT YOU WOULD BE AFRAID OF THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWING. Ever. Understand? Create yourself a false identity on the Internet and use it. Anonymity is a two edged sword, use that to your advantage and be even more anonymous than the people who want to get your personal information. Most importantly, never give out your real name to any online service that doesn't require your debt or credit card. Paypal? Use your real name. Credit or Debit card payment areas? Use your real name. Otherwise? Do not use your real name, use a fake name.
    Why use a fake name?

    Understand that if a "hacker" gets access to your account, and needs to use two-way authentication, they will have access to your phone number. Googling your phone number will tell them which company owns that phone number. They can then call that company and claim that they need a new SIM card. The only question that they're going to be asked likely is what your real name is. So if they ask and they get your real name, they can answer that question, and get your SIM card mailed to their address. Where they can then promptly fuck over your entire life.

    Do not put your phone number and your real name in the same place. Have a facebook? Get rid of your phone number, right now. A quick google search will doom you.

    That being said, following all of this advice strictly to the letter is hard and you might not. Which is fine, just understand that you'll have to live with the consequences of that as a result. :ferret:

    That's it really.
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  3. Thanks for clarifying this. That is a lot of useful information.
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  4. Ha! Looks like I'm pretty sa-

    Oh wait, you meant individually, not all at once, didn't you?

    Aaanyway, looks like I'm clean, based on my username and email, anyway. My real name brings up a bit more info, but most of that comes from my LinkedIn page and other stuff that seems pretty reasonable to come up with a google search (and is actually really good in the context of potential employers trying to look me up :P), soooo looks like I'm good as long as I don't give out my real name, seeing as how my Iwaku username brought up no real results at all, and the worst thing that my email address brought up was my old fanfiction account... >.>
    #4 Kagayours, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  5. My question is this; if iwaku knows it's stupid to post your full name, birthdate, and living location in one's profile, then why is it even an option? Shouldn't the admin remove these potential dangers instead of saying "hey fill out your profile" and then getting huffy about safety when users do just that? Otherwise, is it right to encourage putting false information on these sites? Doesn't that encourage users to lie about their age?
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  6. Googled myself and cell. Nothing about me comes up. I'm happy.
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  7. The only thing we DO require is the birthdate because of our age rules. But it's 100% optional on whether or not a member chooses to make it public. By default it is NOT public. If a member turns that on in their settings it's their choice.

    We don't have a field for someone's real name and we never ask for it.

    If someone lies about their location or writes something dumb in that field it's not a big deal, because that does not affect anything for us or a members ability to use the site.

    We have that field and contact info fields for members to use by their own choice! Announcements like this are just to remind people to think before they post personal stuff. We're not being huffy about or tell people they are not allowed to share what they wanna share if they're comfortable doing so. For example, I personal will post my real name, pics, address, EVERYTHING online. I do not have issues with that.

    But some people who ARE super private occasionally get freaked out when someone finds something "they shouldn't have" about them. They don't realize that some of the stuff they post online is what's making that possible. So that is the point of these PSAs!
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  8. Actually the profile doesn't ask for you to list your full name to be seen publically. Secondly, as I've mentioned before, just listing your age or birthday is no big deal. It's when you provide a lot of personal information about yourself is when you open yourself up to people finding out about you on the internet. It's not just Iwaku. It's anywhere online. As for the location, many people put down a fake location like "under my bed."

    The point of this post is not to tell people what to do and what not to do, but rather give some helpful advice. Advice that you can choose to follow or not.

    The bottom line is like Brovo said, don't put anything online that you wouldn't want someone else to read/find. This post wasn't just for Iwaku, it was for the internet as a whole, and each individual can chose to release whatever information about themselves that they are comfortable with. These are merely suggestions.
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  9. Well put ladies, thank you for the explanation :)
  10. As an adult like myself, I agree with all of them. This is why I am not comfortable giving out my real name, my location, or anything else unless I get to know the person first.
  11. Aye, paranoia for the online world is a good call.
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  12. I agree, we must protect our young and vulnerable members from stalkers and creepers.
    Therefore, I offer myself as a tribute.

    Anthony William Faria
    My Facebook Page
    Formerly went to Blakelock High School and then Sheridan College (Trafalgar Campus)
    I live at 400 Tower Drive, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
    Birthday is March 4th 1994 (But you shall never learn my age! MUA HA HA HA!)
    Picture (In case Avatar changes):

    Skype: addictx360
    Discord: Gwazi Magnum
    Tumblr: Gwazi Magnum (I rarely use this though)

    Cell #: 905-808-2342

    And don't worry Staff. I'm not handing out my info on a Silver Platter...
    This is a Gold Platter with Diamond Trimmings.
    #12 Gwazi Magnum, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  13. And once the stalkers and creepers track down Gwazi IRL, he'll do nothing but troll and annoy them, thus making the creepers realize that hunting down Iwaku users IRL was a horrible idea and they'll never want to do it again. Brilliant! :D
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    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  14. just pulled a calculator. your 22. Age has been found.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  15. Woah we got peeps with some mad hacking skills on this site.
  16. And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for your pesky Math!
  17. Muahahaha!
  18. Yes, all your precious Myspace is mine! Bwahahaha!
  19. Gwazi: Making it easier on the FBI to do their jobs 2016
    #19 Diana, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 4
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1

  20. I forgot my Cell #!
    Do not worry Stalkers, FBI and ISIS alike.
    I have fixed this oversight.
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