Click here to find out about Computer Training at the Library! [Link opens a PDF]
GCF Learn Free Online Tutorials VIDEO - Self-paced tech tutorials covering computer basics, Internet basics, e-mail skills, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as Microsoft Office, versions 2003 through 2016 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access) and Windows, versions 98, XP, 7, 8, & 10. Now offers free mobile apps for learning MS Office from your Android, iPhone/iPad, or Kindle Fire! (Goodwill Community Foundation)
Computer Dictionary - Over 6,000 computer definitions and terms; you can search by keyword or browse alphabetically (Computer Hope). What Is? is another dictionary of computer-related terms; search by keyword, or browse alphabetically or by broad subject (TechTarget, an online technology media company). Trend Micro's Security Glossary defines dozens of terms specifically related to online security, such as ActiveX, boot sector virus, and Worm. See also Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations, below.
Computer Rage VIDEO - If computer-related aggravations have you tearing your hair out, get some vicarious & hilarious relief from these comic videos. (Dr. Kent Norman, Psychology Professor at University of Maryland; videos hosted on YouTube.)
Consumer Reports: Computer Buying Guide - Annual guide to choosing a laptop or desktop computer, Windows or Macintosh, plus other information to help you buy and use your computer, and the latest electronics & computer news & reviews (full access only available with subscription; or you can access Consumer Reports Online via EBSCO Masterfile). Before you get rid of your old PC, cell phone, or mobile device, see Safe Computer Disposal and E-Cycling links, below.
DownRightNow - Have you ever had a problem connecting to Facebook, Google, YouTube, or other popular websites, and wondered if the trouble originated from the website itself, from your ISP, or from your own equipment? DownRightNow monitors the status of your favorite web services to tell you when there's service trouble. You can also file a report on the site to let others know when you've encountered a bug or outage. To check the status of any website (not just the popular ones), see Website Down or Not?
E-Cycling - Basic information about reducing & recycling electronics, information about state e-cycling requirements, organizations & major retailers / manufacturers with donation & recycling programs, and more (U.S. EPA). For a list of area stores that accept items such as printers, laptops, monitors, CPUs and televisions for recycling, see Middlesex County E-Cycling (Middlesex County Improvement Authority). See also E-Cycle New Jersey (NJ Department of Environmental Protection). For advice on how to remove personal data from your old PC, cell phone, or mobile device before you donate, recycle or trash it, see Safe Computer Disposal links, below. Recycle It Right outlines environmentally-friendly ways to get rid of electronic equipment that you no longer use (Electronics TakeBack Coalition). The South Plainfield Public Library accepts empty ink & toner cartridges from computer printers or copiers for recycling — your donations help the library! Click here for info on the South Plainfield Electronics Recycling Program (under 'SOUTH PLAINFIELD MARY B. MAZEPA DROP-OFF CENTER').. See our recycling webfinder for additional resources.
FCC Consumer Help Center - Visit this website to learn about consumer issues, file a complaint or check your complaint status. Includes consumer information about TV, phone, internet, radio, access for people with disabilities, and emergency communications. See also FCC Consumer Guides. (Federal Communications Commission)
Make Use Of - 'A technology website focused on bridging the connection between users, computers, devices and the Internet through education. Our mission is to help users deconstruct the world of technology and gadgets.'
Older versions of computer programs - See Old Version, below.
Readability - No longer available. Firefox Reader View provides similar features in the Firefox Web Browser without the use of a separate app, though not all web pages are available in Reader View. Another useful tool for those with reading difficulties is the free WordTalk Windows plugin for Microsoft Word. WordTalk will speak the text of a document and highlight it as it goes. Works with all versions from Word 97 to Word 2010, Windows 98 through Windows 8. (Hosted by CALL Scotland, Communication and Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities, University of Edinburgh; conceived and developed by Rod Macaulay).
TechSoup - 'A comprehensive source of technology information just for non-profit organizations,' but also useful for individuals and small businesses. Includes free downloads and other tools.
If you are an ABSOLUTE BEGINNER, find a friend, relative, or librarian to help you get started with these sites:
GCF Learn Free Mouse & Typing Tutorials INTERACTIVE - Self-paced tutorials for learning how to type and use a mouse, plus related tutorials. (Goodwill Community Foundation)
Good Typing INTERACTIVE - Using a computer keyboard can really slow you down if you don't know how to type. This online tutorial offers step-by-step lessons for beginners. [FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED.] Other good typing tutorial sites include Peter's Online Typing Course INTERACTIVE, GCF Learnfree Typing INTERACTIVE, and Typing.com INTERACTIVE.
New User Tutorial INTERACTIVE - If you've never used a computer before, these lessons are for you! Covers pointing, clicking, scrolling, etc. (The Library Network, Southgate, MI)
Once you've mastered your mouse, it's time to move on to:
Computer Basics VIDEO INTERACTIVE - 'Are you new to using computers? Do you wonder what people mean when they say the Cloud, Windows, Blackberry, Lion, etc.? Perhaps you would just like to know more about how computers work? When it comes to learning today's technology, Computer Basics has all the basic concepts covered.' Also offers many additional tech tutorials. (Goodwill Community Foundation)
Check these sites to learn more about using Microsoft Windows® and other operating systems:
64-bit vs. 32-bit Operating Systems - 'You're probably aware that 64-bit and 32-bit versions of your operating system exist, but you may have no idea what separates the two. The question: Should you use a 64-bit version of Windows, and why?' (Lifehacker.com)
Operating Systems For Dummies™ - How-tos on operating systems including Windows XP through Windows 10, DOS, Linux, and UNIX, as well as Mac OS & Applications. From the publisher of the For Dummies™ series of books. (John Wiley & Sons Inc.)
Windows 7 How-Tos (How-To Geek) UPDATED LINK! - Tips and tweaks for using the Windows 7 operating system. Covers Disabling Features & Annoyances, Networking & Sharing, Privacy & Security, Shortcuts & Hotkeys, and other Windows 7 Tips. See also Windows 7 Help (Microsoft).
Windows 10 (How-To Geek) - Tips and tweaks for using the Windows 10 operating system (Purch.com). See also Windows 10 Help (Microsoft). For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on Windows 10 for new users, see Computer Literacy 101: Windows 10 (by Jan Smith).
Windows Vista How-Tos (How-To Geek) UPDATED LINK! - Tips and tweaks for using the Windows Vista operating system. Covers Desktop Customization, Managing Files and Folders, Network and Internet, Security, System Administration, Windows Aero Glass, Tips and Tweaks.
Internet 101: Connecting to the Internet UPDATED! - This interactive tutorial explains what the different types of internet connections (dialup, DSL, and cable) are, how to choose an internet service provider (ISP), what hardware & software you'll need to connect, and how to set up your connection on a computer or mobile device (Goodwill Community Foundation). See also Broadband Speeds: What You Need to Know (2015, Federal Communications Commission) and Shopping for High-Speed Internet Service (2011, OnGuardOnline.gov).
Go2Broadband - Enter your address to get links to cable services available at your location. (From a cable industry association)
Wi-Fi: How to Find Free and Safe Public Wi-Fi NEW! - Advice on locating free wi-fi services in bars, restaurants, shops and other public places. You can use WiFi at the South Plainfield Public Library. To protect yourself when using wireless networks, see Wireless Security, below.
Emily Post's Communication and Technology Etiquette - Advice on correct manners when communicating electronically, or in person! Covers the use of mobile devices & smartphones, email, social networking and more. See also Ten Commandments for Mobile Manners (Kim Komando, radio talk show host and syndicated columnist) and Cyberethics (Microsoft).
Evaluating Web Pages - See Evaluating Websites and related links.
Internet Basics (Formerly Internet 101) - This introductory course explains what the internet is, how it is used, how to connect to the internet, and how to use web browsers & search engines. The same website also offers many additional tech tutorials (Goodwill Community Foundation).
Research Beyond Google - A guide to searching the 'invisible web' to find authoritative information sources on a variety of subjects (2013, Online Education Database).
For more advice on protecting your privacy and security when using e-mail or social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), see Protecting Yourself & Your Family, below.
BCC: Blind Carbon Copies - Do you forward jokes, photos, or other email messages to your family, friends, and co-workers? BCC, or blind carbon copy, allows you to protect their privacy when you do. Unlike addresses in the To: field or the CC: (carbon copy) field, addresses in the BCC: field cannot be seen by other users. This page explains how, when, and why you should use BCC. (US-CERT, Department of Homeland Security)
E-Mail Basics Tutorial - Online tutorials teach you the essentials of email, in addition to other popular ways to communicate online in today's world. (Goodwill Community Foundation)
Email Etiquette Dos & Don'ts - Tips to help you communicate politely and effectively by email (Emily Post). See Emily Post's Communication and Technology Etiquette, above, for more tips on how to communicate correctly, safely and effectively.
Overcoming E-Mail Overload AUDIO - Practical tips to help you efficiently manage e-mail on the job; many of these tips will be helpful for management of your personal e-mail, too. (2005, NPR; includes both audio and text versions)
Snoop-Proof E-mail - A list of e-mail providers offering secure, encrypted e-mail services (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
Social Media Tutorials (GCF Global Learning®) VIDEO - 'Social media is the blending of technology and social interaction for the purpose of communication and co-creation in today's world. Knowing how to use social media is an essential 21st century skill that you can acquire with our new social media topics.' This site offers self-paced tutorials covering blogs, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Linked In, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more (Goodwill Community Foundation).
Spam for Consumers - Help and info on dealing with spam and different types of spam scams UPDATED LINK! (Federal Trade Commission et al.). How Spam Works explains how spammers get your e-mail address, and why so much annoying spam can get past your spam filter and wind up in your inbox. (HowStuffWorks, Inc.)
Windows Live Mail Stuff - If you're using the Windows Live Mail email program (the successor to Outlook Express and Windows Mail), you may be frustrated by the lack of help provided for many important functions. This site offers some useful how-to tips, including an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts and instructions on how to customize the Quick Access Toolbar (personal site by Noel Burgess).
Cell Phone Etiquette - See Emily Post's Communication and Technology Etiquette, above.
Cell Phones and Cancer Risk - Outlines current concerns and recent research on the possible health risks of cell phone use (2016, National Cancer Institute). See also Government Study Links Cell Phones with Cancer in Male Rats (2016, PBS/WGBH), Does Cell-Phone Radiation Cause Cancer? (2015, Consumer Reports), and Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use (2013, Environmental Working Group). Distracted Driving (2016, FCC) and Distracted Walking (2014, Pew Research Center) are other safety risk associated with mobile devices.
Disposing of Your Mobile Device - Explains how to safely dispose of cell phones and other mobile devices (2012, Federal Trade Commission).
Kids and Mobile Phones - Advice for parents on helping children use cell phones safely (2011, OnGuardOnline.gov, Federal Trade Commission). See also NetSmartz Cell Phones (2016, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America), and Smartphone Guide for Parents of Tweens and Teens (2012, Larry Magid, broadcaster and syndicated columnist). For a review of health risks, see Cell Phones and Cancer Risk and related links, above. For translations of text-messaging acronyms, see Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations, below.
Privacy in the Age of the Smartphone - A detailed look at privacy issues related to cell phone and smartphone use, with a briefer Summary of Consumer Privacy Tips NEW! to help you protect your personal information (2016, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; non-profit organization).
Stay Safe Online: Mobile Devices - Outlines the precautions you should take to safely connect to the internet using mobile devices (National Cyber Security Alliance). See also Understanding Mobile Apps NEW! (2017, Federal Trade Commission).
Text Messaging on your Cell Phone - Explains the basics of using the numbers on a cell phone keypad as a keyboard to send and receive short messages (2003; The College of New Jersey). You can also watch a basic instructional video about How to Use the Keypad for Text Messages VIDEO, plus many more recent related videos & articles on the e-How website. See also Text Message Spam (2013, Federal Trade Commission).
Your Wireless Life - Consumer advice to help you improve your mobile experience and select the best service & device that fits your needs. A sister site, Growing Wireless, offers parents tools & information that can help you teach your kids how to use wireless technology responsibly. (CTIA-The Wireless Association®; industry association)
AlternativeTo - Alternatives to common software, based on users recommendations. OSalt is another directory of free open source software alternatives to well-known commercial software. Gizmo's Top Picks has reviews of selected freeware programs & apps, plus tech tips and other info (personal site by Ian 'Gizmo' Richards and a group of volunteer editors). SourceForge hosts a large collection of Open Source software for a wide range of applications (owned and operated by Slashdot Media, a Dice Holdings, Inc. company). See also Old Version, below. [CAUTION: Always scan downloads with a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program before opening them.]
CNET Software Downloads - One-stop source for software downloads (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android) and software reviews. Offers a huge number of free downloads; others are free to try, or for purchase only. Software categories include security, browsers, business, communications, desktop enhancements, developer tools, drivers, digital photo, educational, entertainment, games, graphic design, internet, home & hobby, MP3 & audio, networking, productivity, screensavers & wallpaper, utilities & operating systems, and video software (CNET.com, a CBS Interactive site). [CAUTION: Always scan downloads with a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program before opening them.]
Excel Tutorial - Step-by-step instruction in the basics of using Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program. 'Although examples in this overview reference Microsoft® Excel 2007, fundamental concepts should be relatively easy to apply to other versions of Excel.' (By Dr. Sharon Garrison, a University of Arizona professor). See also Easy Excel 2010 Tutorial (author unknown). For tutorial on all versions of Excel through 2016, see Microsoft Office Tutorials, below.
Microsoft eBooks - More than 60 free Microsoft eBooks for businesses, home users, web developers, and IT professionals on a wide variety of programs. A related page lists More Free Microsoft eBooks and Resource Kits. (Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Partner Experience) [NOTE: Site may be slow to load fully.]
Microsoft Office Tutorials (GCF Learn Free ) VIDEO - Self-paced Microsoft Office programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access) tutorials. Includes Microsoft Office versions 2000 through 2016 (Goodwill Community Foundation). MS Office 2013 Tutorials offers outstanding lessons, basics through advanced, for using Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, and Access software; use the left-hand menu to choose a tutorial (Florida Gulf Coast University). In Pictures has simple, easy-to-follow, illustration-based tutorials for Office versions 2007 through 2013 & 365 (no author name or credentials provided).
Old Version - Are you still using an older computer that can't handle the latest versions of some popular software? Do you just prefer the older version of your favorite browser, media, or mail program? On this site you can download early versions of many Windows-based freeware and shareware programs such as Internet Explorer, AOL Instant Messenger, Acrobat Reader, Eudora, Winamp, WinZip, and RealPlayer. [CAUTION: Be aware that outdated versions of software may be less secure than current versions.] [CAUTION: Always scan downloads with a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program before opening them.]
Open Office - Free downloadable software, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, and drawing program. 'An Open Source, community-developed, multi-platform (Windows, Mac, etc.) office productivity suite.' LibreOffice is another free alternative multi-platform office suite. AbiWord is a free multi-platform word-processing program. [CAUTION: Always scan downloads with a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program before opening them.]
Zamzar Free Online File Conversion, PDF Online Converter, and You Convert It - Allow users to transform computer files from their original file format to a different file format - for example, you can convert a file in DOC format to a PDF, or convert a PDF to HTML. The Online OCR Service extracts text from PDF or image files (JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF) and converts it into editable Word, Text, Excel, PDF, or HTML formats! OnlineOCR.net is free in 'Guest mode' (without registration), allowing you to convert 15 images per hour. To convert a PDF document into a .jpg image, try Convert PDF to Image. For more free PDF conversion tools, see PDFConverter.com. [CAUTION: Always scan e-mail attachments and downloads with a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program before opening them.]
Cell Phones & Mobile Devices
CNET Tech How-To Tips VIDEO - Up-to-date tips for using your phone, tablet, computer, home theater and the Web, plus product reviews for camcorders, cell phones, computers & peripherals, digital cameras, home audio & video players, MP3 players, TVs, appliances, and much more (CNET.com, a CBS Interactive site.).
Consumer Reports: Electronics Buying Guides - The buying guides from Consumer Reports provide general advice on purchasing electronics, including computers, printers, smartphones, cell phones & services, digital cameras, camcorders, TVs and much more! Choose a topic, then click on 'Buying Guide'. [NOTE: Buying Guides are free to everyone, but online access to ratings and repair records for specific products is only available to paid subscribers, or via our EBSCOHost Masterfile Elite database.]
Digital Photography Tips - Tips on taking, printing, organizing and storing digital pictures, with related projects; use the left-hand menu to navigate (Kodak). Short Courses is a comprehensive online guide to digital cameras, digital photography, and digital video (by author/photographer Dennis P. Curtin). BigHugeLabs.com's Flickr Toys, Games & Utilities offers a large collection of free tools you can use to make calendars, posters, trading cards, wallpaper, 'lolcats' and lots of other fun stuff with your digital photos.
Electronics Recyling - Links to information on recycling electronic products.
Guide to Cables, Connectors and Ports - This handy illustrated guide shows different kinds of computer, audio, & video connections and explains what each one is for. (2011, Hewlett-Packard). The CTA Connections Guide VIDEO is a series of short videos to walk you through the procedure for connecting a gaming system, streaming device, digital antenna or DVD or Blu-ray player to your TV (Consumer Technology Association).
Juice Podcast Receiver - This free, open-source software for downloading and managing audio podcast subscriptions is an easy-to-use alternative to iTunes. A great option for finding podcasts you'll enjoy is Podbay, where you can search or browse for podcasts, read descriptions & reviews for each podcast, find links to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, download or listen to individual episodes on your PC, iPhone or Android, and visit the podcast's website. [NOTE: When searching Podbay, don't click on the Search button! Instead, type your terms into the search box slowly and wait for the 'Quick Results' to appear below.]
Preserve Your Digital Materials VIDEO - Basic advice on 'personal archiving': preserving your digital photos, audio & video, email, personal records, and websites. (Library of Congress)
Tech Etiquette - See Emily Post's Communication and Technology Etiquette and related links, above.
VoIP Phone Service Fact Sheet [Link opens a PDF] - Explains VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), a technology which allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular phone line (2015, Federal Communications Commission). GCF's Skype Tutorial VIDEO explains how to use the popular Skype VoIP service for voice & video calls, instant messaging, and more. Includes links to other free or affordable options for making VoIP and video calls (2016, Goodwill Community Foundation).
To find out more about internet fraud, online privacy, identity theft,
electronic banking, online shopping, and related topics, please see our
CONSUMER INFORMATION: E-Commerce & the Internet and
CONSUMER INFORMATION: Junk Mail, Privacy, & Identity Theft links.
To learn about the effects of media (books, TV, movies, internet, video games, etc.)
on kids and teens, please see our
PARENTING & FAMILY: Media & Entertainment links.
OnGuard Online VIDEO - Practical tips to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer & mobile devices, and protect your personal information (Federal Trade Commission). The date of each article is provided at the bottom of the page, so you know how up-to-date the information is.
Stay Safe Online - Additional resources to help you protect yourself, your family, and your computers (home or business) & mobile devices from malware, fraud, data loss, cyberbullying, and other threats (National Cyber Security Alliance).
National Cyber Awareness System Tips & Alerts - Provides timely information about current security issues, vulnerabilities, & exploits, advice about common security issues for the general public, and more - including a few basic rules of thumb to protect yourself NEW!. You can subscribe to bulletins and alerts by email or feed. (US-CERT, Department of Homeland Security)
Stop. Think. Connect. (Foreign Language Resources) NEW! - Online safety tips in Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Japanese, French, and Turkish, as well as English. (Anti-Phishing Working Group et al.)
Behavioral Advertising Opt-Out - See Cookies links, below.
Blind Carbon Copies - See BCC: Blind Carbon Copies, above.
Caller ID Spoofing - See CONSUMER INFORMATION: Caller ID Spoofing.
Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations NEW! [Link opens a PDF] - A handy reference guide to acronyms and abbreviations commonly used by kids & teens on the web and in text messaging (2006, U.S. Department of Justice). For a more complete list of definitions for text messaging & chat abbreviations, see Net Lingo and Webopedia. You can use the Transl8it! site to translate SMS, text, emoticon, smiley, slang or chat room lingo into plain english, or vice versa (author unknown). Computer Hope offers an Online Conversion Tool for Leetspeak, a code which replaces letters for numbers or other characters (updated in 2017). Parents who want to know more about their kids' use of cell phones and text-messaging, see should read Kids and Mobile Phones links, above. To learn how text messaging works, see Text Messaging on your Cell Phone, above.
Computer Workstation Ergonomics: How to Sit at a Computer - Describes health and comfort factors to be considered in setting up your workstation (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons). See also OSHA Ergonomic Solutions: Computer Workstations eTool (U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration).
Consumer Reports Guide to Internet Security VIDEO - Lots of information and advice on the latest security threats; covers scams, identity theft, malware, social networks, medical privacy, the 'Internet Of Things', and more. Some articles are only available to paid subscribers. (2016, Consumer Reports)
Cookies: Online Tracking - 'A cookie is information saved by your web browser, the software program you use to visit the web. Cookies can be used by companies that collect, store and share bits of information about your online activities to track your behavior across sites.' This page offers a basic explanation of what the different types of cookies are, and some suggestions that can help you control them and protect your privacy (2016, Federal Trade Commission). Behavioral Advertising Opt-Out allows you to opt out of some Internet ads that are specially tailored to you by tracking your Web preferences and usage patterns (Network Advertising Initiative). [NOTE: This opt-out service only works if you allow and retain cookies in your browser. For alternative methods, see EPIC's recommended Web Browser Add-ons.] See also How to Disable Adobe Flash cookies on your Windows PC (2015; by Naveen Katari, The Windows Bulletin). You may also want to find out about The Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block (2014; ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest), and about how using Social Media Share Buttons may share your browsing history, too (2014; Science Daily website, featuring science news from leading universities and research organizations). See also Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and related links, below.
Cyberbullying: StopBullying.gov - 'Cyberbullying happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology.' This site explains why cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can report it if it happens (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). See also CyberBullying (2012, Wired Safety, a non-profit/volunteer organization).
Data Breaches - See Security Breaches, below.
Digital Legacy - See Online Life After Death for tips on how to plan for the management of your digital files, photos, posts and other accounts after your death.
Electronic Privacy Tools - Links to electronic privacy tools such as snoop-free email, web browser add-ons, web or disk encryption, secure instant messaging, cookie busters, firewalls, and many others. (EPIC, Electronic Privacy Information Center; a non-profit public interest research center)
E-Mail, Web, and Chat Room Slang and Acronyms - See Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations, above.
Flash Cookies - See Cookies links, above.
Internet Crime Complaint Center - Use this site to file a complaints over any type of crime committed over the Internet, including credit card fraud, retail fraud, investment fraud, auction fraud, etc. Formerly Internet Fraud Complaint Center (FBI and National White Collar Crime Center). The FBI also offers a web page on scams and safety.
Is This Website Safe? (Norton Safe Web) - Enter a website address in the box and get Norton's safety rating for that website (Symantec Corporation). [CAUTION: This tool is should not be used as a substitute for a reliable anti-virus / anti-spyware program!]
Just Delete Me - Many companies make it difficult to find out how to delete your account; JustDelete.me provides direct links to the account deletion pages for numerous websites & services including Amazon.com, Blogger, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, iTunes, LinkedIn, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress.com, Yelp, YouTube, and dozens of others. The site also rates the difficulty of account deletion for each service as Easy, Medium, Hard, or Impossible - making it a useful place to check BEFORE you sign up for a new service, as well as when you are trying to delete an existing account. (2016, Background Checks.org)
Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age NEW! - Advice on how your family can manage media use in positive and healthy way (2016, American Academy of Pediatrics). For additional resources, see our PARENTING: Media & Entertainment links.
Kids' Online Safety & Privacy - Practical tips for parents on protecting kids online (Federal Trade Commission). NetSmartz VIDEO offers helpful net-safety resources for parents, kids, tweens and teens, as well as for educators and law enforcement officials (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America). See also Connect Safely (by Larry Magid et al.). I Keep Safe has a variety of resources for parents, educators, and youth (non-profit organization). See also Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations, above.
Microsoft Safety & Security Center - Tips, tools, and alerts from Microsoft to help you protect your computer, yourself, and your family from hackers, viruses, fraud, and more. (Microsoft)
Online Information Broker FAQ - Advice to help you get your name off websites that sell or provide personal information about individuals, gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance) and public records. For related information, see Data Brokers and 'People Search' Sites (2017, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; non-profit organization)
Passwords NEW! - Explains the whys and hows of creating strong passwords & PINs to keep your accounts and private information secure (2016, US-CERT). See also How to create a strong password (and remember it) (2011, Consumer Reports). Are you having trouble thinking up new passwords to meet increasingly complicated password configuration requirements? Norton offers an automated Password Generator NEW! you can use online or download.
Phishing Scams - Recommendations on how to avoid the fraud and identity theft that result from phishing and spoofing, which use emails and websites that look safe but are actually stealing your personal information. (Anti-Phishing Working Group, a coalition of information technology companies, law enforcement agencies, international treaty organizations, government ministries, universities and research institutions)
Privacy: Check Your Privacy Settings - Direct links to pages that explain how to update your privacy settings on popular devices and online services such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Apple iOS, and many others (National Cyber Security Alliance). Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Online Privacy offers a wealth of practical tips on safeguarding your personal privacy on the Internet and elsewhere (Non-profit organization). See also Cookies links, above. See InfoWorld: Internet Privacy for up-to-date news and opinion on privacy issues associated with Google, Microsoft, social media sites like Facebook & Twitter, and more (from publisher International Data Group). See Electronic Frontier Foundation for news and information about how our rights and freedoms are affected by new technologies; includes the free Privacy Badger Browser Extension NEW!.
Restoring Backed-Up Data NEW! - If your computer (Windows 98 through Windows 10) has been hit by ransomware and you have your data backed up, here are directions for restoring your data. (2017, Consumer Reports)
Safe Computer Disposal - 'Computers often hold all kinds of personal and financial information. If you're getting rid of your old computer, there are things to do before you log off for the last time so your hard drive doesn't become a 21st century treasure chest for identity thieves and information pirates.' OnGuardOnline.gov tells you how (2011, Federal Trade Commission). See also How to Securely Erase your Hard Drive (Microsoft; date unknown) and Disposing of Your Mobile Device, above. How and Why to Destroy Old Flash Drives explains how to protect personal or professional data by destroying old flash drives (2011, Campus Technology Magazine; 1105 Media Inc).
Security Breaches: What to Do When You Receive a Data Breach Notice - 'Have you received a letter informing you that your personal information (such as Social Security numbers, account numbers, and driver's license numbers) may have gotten into the wrong hands?' This fact sheet explains what a data or security breach is, and offers advice on what you should do if you are notified that your personal information has been compromised. Includes specific information on breaches involving credit or debit cards, financial accounts, driver's license number or other government-issued ID, or Social Security number. Includes links to additional resources for businesses and for consumers. This website includes a searchable, frequently-updated chronological list of corporate and institutional data security breaches from 2005 to the present. Data Breaches: Know Your Rights VIDEO is a 4-minute film exploring how a typical consumer may respond to a data breach notification (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; non-profit organization). See also Protecting your Child's Information after a Data Breach (2015, Federal Trade Commission).
Security Checkups - Links to computer security vendors providing free computer security checks to check your computer for known viruses, spyware, and more (National Cyber Security Alliance). Download.com's Security and Antivirus Center offers security tips and reviews of security & antivirus apps for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices (CNET.com, a CBS Interactive site). PC Magazine also offers product reviews and related advice on Security Software and Anti-Spyware Programs.
Spam Scams & Hoaxes - If you receive a dubious email or online message, check this encyclopedia of common hoaxes before you do anything else. Exposes false virus warnings, health scares, 'free' product scams, stories of Nigerian dictators, and much more. (Trend Micro, a company providing technology security products & services)
Spoofing - See Caller ID Spoofing, above.
Texting Slang and Acronyms - See Chat, Text & Web Abbreviations, above.
Wireless Security: Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks VIDEO - Explains how to protect your personal information when using a public Wi-Fi (2014, Federal Trade Commission). Protecting Your Wireless Network summarizes the risks associated with using unsecured wireless / Wi-Fi connections to access the internet, with information on safer alternatives, and links to additional information (2016, Federal Communications Commission). See also OnGuard Online: Securing Your Wireless Network (2015, Federal Trade Commission et al.).