Exercise 2: Online Safety and Privacy

How important is privacy? Some people are very open about sharing ideas, pictures, and information with people they know. As users, we expect shopping websites to be personalized to our tastes, yet are sometimes unaware what data is being tracked and shared. Watch this TED video on behavioral tracking called “Tracking the Trackers” by privacy advocate Gary Kovacs. While I encourage you to watch the whole video, at 2 minutes in, behavioral tracking is explained in disturbing detail.


Now that I have your attention, let’s look at the tools we do have to protect our online privacy and safety.

Passwords and Protection

Passwords can be challenging for a lot of our customers. New computer users may not understand why passwords need to be a complex series of letters, numbers, and symbols. They may even try to share their passwords with us!

Here’s some good reasons to make passwords complex and private

1) passwords are harder to guess or hack.

2) since personal data is increasingly online, it’s very important to keep it private and secure.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is the activity of defrauding an account holder of financial information (or other sensitive data) by posing as a legitimate company. Phishing can happen in email, by text, or other communications. It could even be a website posing as the legitimate one. An example would be if I send you an email posing as Bank of America and was asking for you to respond to the email with your account information because your bank account was compromised.

It pays to have a critical eye when reviewing emails, and to hover (not click) on any links outside of the email. Don’t open attachments you don’t expect, or respond with personal data. If you have any questions, you should verify the email by calling or contacting the company separately to see if the email is legitimate. If it is not, you should report it. You can read more about phishing scams and report them through Fraud.org: http://www.fraud.org/scams/internet-fraud/phishing

How to clear browser history/cache

Along with protecting your accounts with stronger passwords and making sure that those who contact you are legitimate, it can be very important to delete your browser history. Because many sites use cookies or behavioral tracking (as we’ve seen in the TED video above) you should always log out of any website accounts and clear your cache of visited websites.

In Internet Explorer, click on the gear symbol then go to Internet Options to clear browser history.

In Chrome, you can clear your browser history by doing the following steps: click on the 3 bar menu, then Clear History or go to Settings – > Show Advanced Settings – > Clear Browsing Data.

This is especially important since our patron and staff computers are shared, and patron may “time out” before they can log out of all accounts and close the browser.

Make sure patrons delete documents off desktop/ delete recycle bin

While we’re talking about sharing, patrons saving documents to the desktop should always be shown how to drag their documents from the desktop to the recycling bin, then empty the recycling bin from there. Be aware it’s permanent (which for our patrons is a good thing on a shared PC).



Security and War Games

And just for wow factor, here’s what a live worldwide map of internet attacks and server protections looks like. Norse maintains the world’s largest threat intelligence network, gathering data on attackers and what they’re after. http://map.norsecorp.com/






Please name this blog entry: Lesson 2  Challenge 

Pick one customer service question and write 1-2 paragraphs in your blog about what actions you would take.

  • A customer comes up to you and says they think their Facebook account was hacked, but they’re not sure.
  • A customer shows you a “too good to be true” email about getting free money from Nigeria, and asks you to help them seal the deal with their banking information.
  • A customer accuses the library of spying on them, because they have observed something “unusual” on their PC.

What would you do?

Bonus Video: Online Privacy: How Did We Get There?


"STOP"- Please complete this challenge.

“STOP”- Please complete this challenge. Lesson 3 will post next week.

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4 comments on “Exercise 2: Online Safety and Privacy
  1. ramonalucius says:

    “8 hours a day online.” One has to wonder where that time is coming from: schoolwork? face-to-face socialization? family time?

  2. carmenernst says:

    All I can say is ” We are not alone”. We have to be so careful on who, when and why we are
    connecting. Be cautious!! You can be hacked, slammed, stalked and it only takes a key stroke.

  3. S says:

    A quick tip for clearing your browsing history: press the Cntrl, Shift, and Delete keys at the same time when in your choice of browser, and it will bring up the option to clear your history. This works in Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

  4. irene scharf says:

    Remember even if you clear your browsing history, it still lurks in your computer somewhere.

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