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Best practices for managing your internet security
CenturyLink takes your internet safety seriously. We offer security software from McAfee, included at no extra charge for all High-Speed Internet customers. You can also protect yourself with good judgment and general education about:
Usernames and passwords
How many passwords do you have? Are they all different? Passwords are required on so many online accounts and a secure password helps to keep your information secure. These tips will help you create and manage more secure passwords.
Common types of passwords
There are some common types of passwords that you may encounter.
The PPP username/password is what the modem presents to your ISP to gain access to the internet. This information is automatically programmed into your CenturyLink supported modem during the initial setup. If the automated process fails, or you are using a non-standard equipment, you may need the PPP username/password to program your equipment manually. If you have an ISP other than CenturyLink, contact them for details on connecting to the internet.
The modem's admin username/password is used to restrict access to your modem settings. The modem's GUI (located at http://192.168.0.1) gives you access to utilities, tools, and settings like wireless, port forwarding, firewall and more.
Don't use the same password for multiple accounts, especially for the most sensitive ones, such as bank accounts, credit cards, legal or tax records and files containing medical information. Otherwise, someone with access to one of your accounts may end up with access to many others.
Don't have your web browser remember passwords and input them for you, particularly for your most important financial, legal and medical accounts. If an unauthorized person gains access to your computer or smartphone, they could access any account that your browser automatically logs into.
Don't use passwords that can be easily guessed, such as common words and birthdays of family members. Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. The longer and stronger the password, the safer your information.
Securing your device
Get educated on securing your computer, network, and security software.
Make sure your device's operating system, browser, plug-ins, and programs are up-to-date. Here are some tips:
Operating system: Typically, unless you've changed your device's settings, it will automatically prompt you when there are updates to install
Programs and apps: Check with the manufacturer or app store to look for updates
Browsers and plug-ins: Try using a website like whatismybrowser.com to see if your browser and plug-ins are up-to-date
CenturyLink takes your internet safety seriously. We offer security software at no extra charge to our internet customers. Some customers may also have Secure WiFi, providing security for the entire home network directly from the modem/router.
Wireless networks can be vulnerable to hackers or malicious software (such as worms). Wireless networks use radio waves that can go beyond the boundaries of your home or business. If you don't secure your network, people with computers nearby may be able to access information on your computers and use your internet connection to perform illegal activities. Set up a custom security key on your wireless network (WPA is recomended), to help protect it from unauthorized access.
Most people love "hot deals" and “free offers.” Internet users are constantly being offered free software. But remember, behind every website or email campaign is a real individual or business entity attempting to generate revenue. Be cautious when considering installing “free software.”
Occasionally legitimate software is modified to house badware and made available for download on third party sites. An example of this would be software from the Mozilla Foundation (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.). The safest way to obtain software is to download software directly from the source.
Downloading trial software
Sometimes companies offer "Trial Software" or beta versions of the paid version of software that may expire after a set time or be limited in functionality. Some of this is legitimate, but some will deliver badware or extra items that the user did not agree to. Do research on the software package online to see what others who have tried it are saying about it. There are many online sites where users report malicious software packages.
What is phishing? Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Who do I report phishing to? Forward the full email header of the suspected phishing email to:
What to do if you have fallen victim to phishing? If you have fallen victim to phishing, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or call 877-438-4338.
What to do if you have fallen victim to Identity Theft? If your personal information is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised, you can minimize the potential damage from identity theft. For more information go to the Federal Trade Commission
Where can I learn more about phishing? Learn more about phishing scams, how they work and how you can protect yourself by watching Phishing Scams in Plain English
What is email spam? For an email to be considered spam, it must be both unsolicited and sent in bulk. Not all bulk email is spam. Not all unsolicited email is spam. If you agreed to receive an email from a company, it is not spam.
How do Spammers get my email address? Here is a list of the common ways Spammers get your email address:
Email messages that are forwarded multiple times, like jokes or email hoaxes, videos
Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs) are carried out against email servers to acquire a list of users on your server that will accept email; that list is sold to spammers.
Randomly generating (guessing) common email addresses
How do I unsubscribe from mailing lists of reputable companies that I have signed up with? If you remember providing your email address to a specific company or website to receive a newsletter, product updates, coupons, or be entered in a drawing, this is considered a reputable way to get your email address. The fastest way to get removed from these types of mailing lists is to follow the instructions provided by the sender. The most common way to do this is to scroll to the bottom of the email and locate the unsubscribe link. Some email programs also provide an unsubscribe option right in the email header. It may take several days for your request to be fulfilled. The CAN-spam Act requires that a mailer process an unsubscribe request within 10 business days. Some companies provide you a service (website hosting) or software in exchange for your email address and permission to send you advertisements. This is not spam.
How do I unsubscribe from mailing lists of companies that I have NOT signed up with (unknown or suspicious)? You don't. If you don't remember signing up to receive emails from a company or an email claims to be from a reputable company, but looks suspicious, here are some things to consider. If the email is from a Spammer, and you follow the removal instructions, the spammer uses this process to verify that your email address is going to a real person, making the email address more valuable so that it is then traded or sold to other Spammers.
How to report spam? Forward the full email header of the suspected spam email to (not supported or affiliated with CenturyLink)
I've reported the spam, now what? Mark the email as junk or spam and delete it.
How can I reduce the amount of spam I get? Take steps to limit the amount of spam you get, and treat spam offers the same way you would treat an uninvited telemarketing sales call. Don't believe promises from strangers. Get tips from the Federal Trade Commission.
Open Proxies & Relays
What is an open mail relay? An open mail relay is a setting email servers use to allow anyone to send email through it.
How do I test an IP address for an open relay? Use the search term SMTP Open Relay Test to find a 3rd party tool to test for open relay.