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    • Facebook scams: how can I protect myself?

      As we dive deeper into the digital age, social media has become exceedingly prevalent in our society. With more and more people joining social sites like Facebook, fraudsters have seen this as an opportunity to create scams very specific to each platform. Let's take a look into the different scams that are used on Facebook, and shine a light on effective ways consumers can protect their identities and information. 1. The Facebook "Challenge" Scam There has recently been a trend on Facebook that encourages users to divulge personal information. One of these challenges looks like this "My mother was a ___, my father was a ___." where you attended school, and where you were born. The answers to these questions are often used as answers to password security questions. Sharing any of this information can lead to identity theft, so think before you post. 2. The "See Who's Viewed Your Profile" Scam This scam tries to steer you toward a clickable link that does not contain data showing who has viewed your Facebook profile. Instead, you may be sent to a survey, gift card offer, or a page that asks you to submit personal information in order to "view this list." Always be aware that Facebook will not send you a list of who has been viewing your profile, as it would be breaching their personal security clause. If you receive a link like this, delete the message immediately after reporting the account who sent it as a spam account. 3. The "See Who's Blocked You" Scam This scam is the same as the one above. Facebook would never divulge any information pertaining to who has blocked you or muted you, so bypass these links completely or you run the risk of having malware installed onto your device. 4. The Facebook "Video" Scam Have you ever gotten a message from a friend saying "I can't believe what you're doing in this video!" with a link attached or something along those lines? Has one of your "friends" threatened to release a video of you? This is a common scam on Facebook that plays on ego. There is no video when you click the link, but a data thief who will take the information you provide and build a step-by-step targeted attack against your personal data. Never click on these links, even if it appears to come from someone on your friend list. 5. The Facebook "Testing" Scam If you are ever asked by "Facebook" or a "friend" to test a new Facebook feature, this is a scam. The most recent "testing" scam sends a message to unassuming users telling them they have been selected to test out the new Facebook "dislike" button, and provides a link to enable this feature. Do not click the link, as it will install malware onto your device and steal personal information. Facebook pays plenty of people to test their new software, and if they are wanting to test a new feature, they will release it to certain parts of the world -- not random people. For example, the "dislike" button is currently only being tested in New Zealand and Australia. 6. The "Fake News" Facebook Scam For this scam, oftentimes a link will be sent around containing information about a major event, like a horrible plane crash or a celebrity death, along with a provocative image. You will click on the "news link," which actually will trigger a malware installation. When you click this link, it will also be shared to your Facebook for other people to click on (this perpetuates the scam and keeps it alive). NEVER click on these links -- instead, Google the information first to see if it is real (if the article title says "(Insert celeb name here) dead at the age of 39!" ALWAYS fact check it before you click on an unreliable link -- or copy the link and test it in the "link checker" section of this website!) 7. The "Your Facebook Account Will Be Deleted" Scam This scam sends you an email pretending to be from "Facebook," warning that your account is about to be canceled (in some instances, the message may ask you to confirm your Facebook account). The scammer requests that you send your Facebook username and password back in response in order to verify your identity, or it will have you click on an external link. This is a phishing scam and is designed to steal your personal information. If Facebook wants to contact you, they will send you a direct message on the app itself, not an email. (Side note: Facebook would never delete your account if you don't seem to use it often or for any reason other than you have been reported too many times -- if this is the case, Facebook will send you a message on the app alerting you that this action is going to take place. Facebook will NEVER make you "copy and paste" a message to show them you are still active and to not delete your account. If you see this post being re-posted by many of your friends, it is best to simply move on. Your Facebook profile will not be deleted.) 8. The "Malicious Tagging" Scam This scam all starts when you are tagged in a post with several other of your friends. Because you are tagged in a post with your friends, you assume the link is safe to click on -- in many cases, it may even appear that a friend of yours has shared this post. This is often a link to an "adult" video -- when you click on it, a pop-up window appears that prompts you to download the latest version of Flash before watching the video, which is really malware. Once you click this link, the post is shared to your Facebook profile. Some steps to avoid this scam: don't click links that contain descriptions such as, "exclusive," "shocking," or "sensational" footage; don't click on links that are shortened -- if you cant tell the exact website you're going to, it is probably a scam; don't always trust what your friends post because their account could have been compromised; report any and all scams you see so that you are able to stop the rapid spread of this malicious tagging scam. Together, we can work to mitigate these scams and make social media a safer place for all people. Remember: think before you click!

    • How to Avoid COVID-19 Scams and Misinformation

      Phishing scams often prey on a victim's fear by using real and current threats to obtain personal information like passwords, account numbers, credit card numbers, and more. Other times, they see opportunity in capitalizing on stories that are highly prevalent in the news. So what happens when you have both scenarios with COVID-19? Yep, you guessed it -- COVID-19 malware is a thing now. What is COVID-19 malware? Basically, scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to "offer" information or services to the public. The above image is an example of one of many coronavirus-related scams. Industry targeted emails There have been several scams going around targeting manufacturing, transportation, higher education, and healthcare industries that promote COVID-19 cures and topical conspiracies. Once the email attachment is opened, malware is able to harvest the victim's data. World Health Organization emails At the beginning of the outbreak, a "spoofing campaign" was launched to target people in areas that were going into shutdown. These emails coincided with the government increasing quarantine measures and therefore capitalized on the fear of those receiving the emails. This campaign contained a "list of precautions" to take to stop the spread of the virus. When the victim opened the document, their device was immediately compromised. Emails sent to remote workers With everyone working from home, hackers are sending emails to remote workers claiming to be from the company HR departments (for most companies, their employees' information is available online -- anyone can access it). This scam asks for the user to sign into DocuSign or Microsoft Word. These scammers typically imitate someone who actually works in the HR department. Once the link is clicked, malware is installed on the victim's device. Coronavirus reactive maps Several organizations have created reactive maps that allow viewers to track where the virus has spread. This scam shows the actual reactive map, but contains malware that steals info stored in your browser (passwords, credit card info, etc.) How can you avoid these scams? While these emails may look like they come from a legitimate source, it is best to proceed with caution before clicking on anything. Don't click on links from unknown senders. If you haven't subscribed to receive emails from a certain sender (such as the World Health Organization) and all of a sudden, they send you an email, it's probably a scam. Does the email address match the sender's name (if the sender's name is "Don" and the email address is, this should be a red flag)? Are there typos in the email? Is the layout slightly off and the sentences structured strangely? If you notice these things, do not click on any links or documents that the email may contain. If they send you a link to a website, run it through a URL checker (see "URL Checker" tab under "Resources") to make sure it's legitimate. Educate yourself. Stay up-to-date on current scams so that if you do encounter one, you will know right away. Think about how it has been shared. Social media and email accounts can be easily hacked and information can be distributed by a hacker with malicious intent. Always be wary of clicking any link, no matter who it's from. Help stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation While Google, Facebook, and Twitter are working diligently to help stop the spread of "fake news," it is ultimately up to us. Always fact check information before you post it. If it seems extreme, it probably isn't factual. If you see someone else spreading misinformation, send them a direct message to let them know that the information they posted is false.

    • The Be KYNd Project... what is it?

      The Be KYNd Project has a simple goal: spread kindness online and offline. One in three young people have experienced cyberbullying in some capacity over the course of their lifetime, and many don't report the threats they receive. Studies have shown that students who are victims of online bullying are two times more likely to commit suicide. This research also suggests that suicide ideation and attempts have doubled since 2008. It's time to put an end to online bullying -- it's time to be KYNd. How can you play a role in the Be KYNd Project? It's easy. If you notice negative behavior toward someone online, stand up for them. Leave a kind comment on someone's social media post. Send someone a hand-written letter when they aren't expecting it. If you are out volunteering in your community, document it, post it online, and tag #beKYNd and #beKYNdproject so we can feature you on our website! ​ You can also help put an end to cyberbullying by purchasing custom #beKYNd merch. The proceeds from each sale will go to the Cybersmile Foundation. You can read more about them here. Remember: in a world where you can be anything, #beKYNd.

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    • Mental Health | Know Your Net

      mental health and social media While social media has revolutionized the world, it has proven to have a significant negative impact on our health and well-being. In this module, we will take a look at how social media negatively impacts our mental health and what can be done to curb social media dependency. A deep dive into "Instagram Depression" Millennials and Gen Z'ers grew up with access to the internet and a slew of different hi-tech gadgets. New research suggests that the increased amount of hours this generation spends online directly correlates with an uptick in teen depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as other psychological disorders. In the published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, 1,479 young people answered questions about how social media platforms influenced different issues related to their mental or physical health. While there were some benefits associated with social networking, the negative responses heavily outweighed the positive. #StatusOfMind survey ​ Those surveyed reportedly experienced bullying, low-self esteem, lack of sleep, and “FOMO” (fear of missing out) due to their excessive use of social media. Previous studies have often suggested that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites are far more likely to report feelings of psychological distress. ​ The findings of the survey concluded that Instagram is the worst outlet for a young person’s mental health. “Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make young people feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life,” the #StatusOfMind report states. “These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude.” ​ The authors of the survey also state that social media posts can set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy. This may explain why Instagram, where personal photos are the bread and butter of the app, received the lowest scores for body image and anxiety. The authors of the survey also state that social media posts can set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy. This may explain why Instagram, where personal photos are the bread and butter of the app, received the lowest scores for body image and anxiety. ​ Chris Pisarik, a nationally licensed psychologist, explained that young girls are more vulnerable to the negative psychological effects attached to social networking websites. ​ “Its different for girls because when boys are on their screen, they’re playing video games,” Pisarik said. “When girls are on their screen, its social. A lot of the social cues they get, a lot of that social interaction, many times is not positive… and so it seems to be having an affect on girls self-esteem and levels of depression.” ​ A found that increased time spent with electronic devices might have contributed to a rise in the symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts over the last several years amongst tweens and teens — especially among girls. study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science ​ Jean Twenge, the San Diego State University psychologist who led the study, explains in her report that there is a much more significant risk of suicide attempts, thoughts of suicide, and depression when a young person spends more than three hours online per day. Twenge says the surveys asked students to respond to statements such as “life often feels meaningless,” or “I feel my life is not very useful,” or “I feel I cant do anything right”. Between 2010 and 2015, Twenge discovered the number of young people who answered “yes” to three or more of these questions increased considerably: from 16 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2015. Findings concluded that these feelings increased significantly among girls, who were six times more likely than boys to report symptoms of depression. This is commonly referred to as "Instagram Depression." Top ways social media negatively affects mental health 1. Social media is addictive ​​ Chances are, you check your social media immediately when you wake up and just before you go to bed. In recent years, states have had to adopt "hands-free" laws because checking social media has quickly become one of the leading causes of road accidents. have coined the term "Facebook Addiction Disorder" to describe the overarching psychological effects of social media usage. According to their research, this addiction can lead to mental preoccupation, neglect of personal life, mood modifying experiences, social detachment, and more. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University ​ 2. Can lead to low self-esteem issues Experts have argued that excessive use of social media can lead to self-esteem issues. When you spend too much time on social media, it is easy to compare your life to the "highlight reels" of others. You are also more susceptible to cyberbullying, misinterpreted comments, and unrealistic expectations due to other users utilizing filters and photoshop. ​ 3. Feeling isolated from the world There is a big difference between interacting with people online and being with the in real life. Even though social media was built to connect the world, it can easily cause us to become extremely disconnected. When chatting online, you lack the physical connection -- this can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. ​ 4. It may lead to anti-social behavior Today, social media encompasses so many interesting games, music, and videos which encourage one to stay online for hours on end. In fact, the average American spends two hours a day on social media -- some people can spend between 3-5 hours a day on social media. People would rather socialize on social media than actually go out and socialize in public. Spending too much time on social media can cause one to miss out on real life. ​ 5. Cyberbullying Cases of cyberbullying are increasing rapidly. In fact, according to UNICEF, one in three people have admitted to being a victim of some sort of online bullying. Cyberbullying can lead to anti-social behavior, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. ​ 6. Can lead to obesity due to unhealthy snacking Overuse of social media can cause one to partake in unhealthy snacking. When spending time on social media, it is easy to get distracted and overeat. Similarly, you may miss out on necessary exercise which can lead to additional health issues. ​ 7. Can lead to depression Researchers believe that the use of social media has contributed to a rise in cases of depression around the world. In the United States, the suicide rate has increased by 25% since 1999. Recognizing social media addiction Do I spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media? Yes No Sometimes Do I feel urges to use social media more and more? Yes No Sometimes Do I use social media to forget about personal problems? Yes No Sometimes Do I become restless or troubled if I am unable to use social media ("FOMO")? Yes No Sometimes Do I often try to reduce my use of social meda without success? Yes No Sometimes Has my social media usage negatively affected my job/relationships? Yes No Sometimes If you answered "yes" to more than three of these questions, then you may have or be developing a social media addiction. ​ As a precaution, you should partake in a "digital detox": a period of time during which you reduce the time spent on electronic devices (smartphones and computers) or you completely abstain from usage. To do this you can: ​ Turn off sound notifications on your phone Turn your phone on "night mode." This will stop any notification from popping up on your screen for an allotted amount of time Only check social media sites once an hour Deactivate social media accounts completely Turn off your phone for a predetermined amount of time everyday Find a hobby that doesn't require any sort of technology If you find that you are suffering from a social media or technology addiction, visit for help. Click "learn more" to be taken directly to their website. Remember, it is never weak to ask for help. Learn more Do you know your net? Click "Take Quiz Now" if you think you're ready to test your #NetKnowledge! Take quiz now! You may also like:

    • Cybersecurity | Know Your Net

      cyber-security Every 39 seconds there is a cyber attack. 93% of these breaches could have been prevented. How long does it take to crack a password? See the chart below. Number of characters Numbers only Upper or lower case letters Upper or lower case letters mixed Numbers, upper and lower case letters Numbers, upper and lower case letters, symbols Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly 4 secs 40 secs 6 mins 1 hour 11 hours 4 days 46 days 1 year 12 years 126 years Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly 13 mins 6 hours 6 days 169 days 12 years 314 years 8k years 212k years 512m years 143m years 3bn years 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Instantly Instantly Instantly 8 secs 5 mins 3 hours 4 days 169 days 16 years 600 years 21k years 778k years 28m years 1bn years 36bn years 1tn years Instantly Instantly 3 secs 3 mins 3 hours 10 days 1 year 106 years 6k years 108k years 25m years 1bn years 97bn years 6tn years 374tn years 23qd years Instantly Instantly 10 secs 13 mins 17 hours 57 days 12 years 928 years 71k years 5m years 423m years 5bn years 2tn years 193tn years 14qd years 1qt years Key: ​ k - thousand (1,000) m - million (1,000,000) bn - billion (1,000,000,000) tn - trillion (1,000,000,000,000) qd - quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) qt - quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) The Senior's Guide to Online Safety Cybersecurity tips for older adults If you did not grow up surrounded by technology, learning the ins and outs can be a difficult road to navigate. See Know Your Net's tips below for how to practice digital citizenship and keep yourself safe online. Click the arrow on each topic to view the enclosed tips. Cybersecurity in the digital age In this cyber-age, it is more important than ever to secure our devices and online profiles. A minor security breach could put your livelihood at risk. See the tips below to learn how to stay safe and secure online. If you have reason to believe your computer is infected, click "learn more" to be redirected to Here, they will walk you through how to properly scan your computer for malware. Learn more Do you know your net? Click "Take Quiz Now" if you think you're ready to test your #NetKnowledge! Take quiz now!

    • Quizzes | Know Your Net

      Kids How well do you know your net? Do you have #NetKnowledge? Click "KIDS" if you're K-8th grade. Click "ADULTS" if you're 9th grade and up. Adults

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Know Your Net's mission is to create a safer online environment for people of all ages. We are always trying to grow and improve. If you have any suggestions of what should be added to this website, please click "contact" and let us know.

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