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Updated September 24, 2022


Internet & Device Safety Guidelines

This page was created to promote internet and device safety for participants using personal devices and the internet for language development and online communication, including programs associated with Snow Educational Resource Associates, LLC, including but not limited to the Connect the Nations Testify Outreach Program. Participation in the Testify Outreach Program is voluntary, and volunteer participants in this program are not representatives of Connect the Nations in any way. However, for your protection and the protection of those with whom you engage, participation in this program assumes your understanding of the following policies and guidelines, referred to as "Terms" in this document. Since these guidelines relate to your personal documents and information, they are provided as recommendations only. Your choice or failure to adhere to these guidelines is at your own discretion and risk, and your participation in this program assumes your full responsibility for the protection of your devices, personal information, and assets. reserves the right to modify any of these Terms without notice. 

Please be advised that representatives of are not data protection or internet experts, and information housed on this site pertaining to internet, device, and data security may be outdated. These recommendations are provided as a courtesy only. For up-to-date recommendations on internet, device, and data security, please consult a professional.


For the safety of the environment, you should report any violation of these Terms or in the spirit of these Terms that results in an increased risk of safety of this site, its representatives, and/or its participants by using the Contact Us form or other email provided to you for this purpose. Interpretation of communication shared will be left to the sole discretion of, and is not responsible in any way for an increased risk of safety of this site, its representatives, and/or its participants relating to a participant's adherence or lack of adherence to these Terms.

We recommend downloading or printing a copy of this information in the event that you are not able to access the internet.

Throughout this document, the use of also pertains to Snow Educational Resource Associates, LLC and should be applied as such.

Language Exchange program protection

  1. Follow all Terms of Service guidelines outlined on any website you are using for language exchange and development

  2. Apply all Terms of Service guidelines for               

  3. We recommend never downloading or clicking links, photos, attachments, or the like

  4. If people send you a link, photo, or attachment, you can tell them that for security, you do not download attachments or click links (unless you can verify the site)

  5. Never give out your personal email or phone number

  6. Communicate only through apps and portals that do not require you to share your email or phone number (i.e. Zoom*, Skype* or the language exchange portal)

  7. Be aware that people who insist on using another form of communication may be luring you to gain access to your personal information

  8. Do not send personal information or pictures of family members

Password protection

  1. Ensure that none of your passwords that you use to secure accounts are similar

  2. Passwords should be at least 12 characters or more with the following criteria:

    • 3 capitalized letters

    • 3 lower case letters

    • 3 symbols (not just the ones at the top commonly used)

    • 3 numbers

    • Jumble these items and don’t group them together or create sequential order

  3. Use two-factor and/or multifactor authentication to protect account access

  4. Do not store passwords on your computer or phone

Phone protection

  1. Maintain newer versions of your phone, as older devices are more prone to vulnerabilities

  2. Review all security features of your phone to optimize security

  3. Make sure your phone and SIM card are locked

  4. Work with your phone company to increase security of your phone account, like adding a customer service pin or require photo ID for in-person customer service

  5. Keep phones updated regularly (at least weekly)

  6. Keep phone internet updated regularly

  7. Do not house, store, or download personal information onto your phone

  8. Phone hacks are dangerous because hackers can gain access to two / multi-factor authentication information [For better security, consider using one phone for two / multi-factor authentication that stays at home or office, and one phone for personal use]

  9. Keeping banking apps and other apps that house personal information, including email, on your phone increases exposure of your information while offering immediate notifications of activity [Consider both benefits and risks]

  10. Only visit websites you know

  11. If possible, avoid downloading apps [Even reputable apps can get hacked]​

  12. If you must download or update an app, check the most recent low star reviews for the app not performing properly, which could be a sign of a hack [Hackers can create fake reviews, so be sure to read all low star reviews before downloading]

  13. Avoid using medical apps that allow access to your personal information and HIPPA records [Doctor's offices can block access to such apps to help increase your security]

  14. Be aware that phone manufacturer accounts may house device information and your personal information that hackers can use [But this information can also be a protective measure to help you and police forces to track your phone]

  15. Backup a list of contacts and content on your phone monthly to a secure backup drive or cloud location in the event that you must factory reset your phone

  16. If you are failing to receive text codes sent to your device OR if you are not receiving texts, contact your phone company immediately to make sure your SIM card has not been changed and another person is receiving your text messages [If you bypass your SIM card lock on an Apple phone, your phone will not receive texts, so do not select SKIP when given the option to put in your SIM card passcode]

  17. Consider disabling Bluetooth and wifi when not in use, but be sure to update your phone weekly and/or set for automatic updates so that phone remains updated


Computer protection

  1. Maintain newer versions of your computer, operating system (i.e. Windows*), and Microsoft Office*, as older devices are more prone to vulnerabilities

  2. Review all security features of your computer and operating system to optimize security

  3. Backup data weekly on a secure external drive or cloud location

  4. Keep computers updated weekly, including Windows* or MAC OS* updates, manufacturer updates, device care options, and drivers

  5. Use a reputable antivirus that runs and updates automatically

  6. Download any anitvirus programs directly from the manufacturer's site

  7. Do not run multiple virus protection programs simultaneously unless the programs are known to be compatible [Consult professional advice before using together]

  8. Shred stored documents containing personal information with a reputable computer document shredding program or a virus protection program that also offers computer document shredding

  9. Be aware that your computer may house information in the Document section of your computer and inside backup data without your knowledge, including sites you visit, documents you download, emails, passwords, etc. [Please see a reputable computer professional or use reputable software if you wish to consistently remove such information]

  10. Make sure your computer firewall remains ON

  11. Do not run two firewalls unless the anti-virus firewall allows and recommends

  12. Use BitLocker or another encryption program to protect your data [Make sure this program remains ON]


Other device protection

  1. Review all security features of your other devices to optimize security

  2. Apply all recommendations for phone or computer above as applicable

  3. Understand that all devices that have accessed a similar network may be compromised and should be cleaned professionally

  4. Syncing devices may increase device vulnerabilities

  5. Avoid using file share features between devices


Email and Text protection

  1. Review all security features of your email

  2. Use an email whose information is not associated with a browser that stores your information (i.e. Yahoo*, Google*, and Microsoft* related browsers store your information), does not store information permanently on its server, and allows for multi-factor authentication

  3. Never open an email or text from an unknown sender

  4. Never download or click links, photos, attachments, or the like from an unknown sender

  5. If you need to click a link, go directly to the site or contact the sender to verify

  6. Do not click on UNSUBSCRIBE links to emails unless you are certain of the sender [Place the email in your SPAM folder instead]


Internet protection

  1. When setting up your home wireless network, experts recommend using Wi-Fi Protected Accessed 3 (WPA3) encryption

  2. Review all security features of your browser to optimize security and minimize tracking

  3. Be aware that many browsers, such as Google* or Microsoft Edge*, store your data and make it very easy for hackers to access and download data quickly if hacked [Go to your account and download your data to see all data that these browsers are housing in your account, which may include emails, phone numbers, sites visited, i.e. financial institutions, locations visited, etc.]

  4. Consider using Private Mode of a browser that does not store or track your information

  5. Be aware that while VPNs can hide your IP address and online activity, banks and other online accounts may use IP addresses to verify your identity

  6. Do not click on links within pop-up windows or advertisements that you did not solicit or cannot be verified

  7. Adjust your browser preferences to limit pop-up windows and cookies


Symptoms of an internet breach

  1. You are receiving pop-ups and redirects when using the internet

  2. You are not able to access several websites

  3. New, unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser

  4. New, unexpected icons appear in the task tray at the bottom of your screen (unless added during an OS update)

  5. Your browser's home page suddenly changed

  6. The search engine your browser opens when you click "search" has been changed

  7. Certain keys fail to work in your browser (i.e. the tab key doesn't work when you are moving to the next field within a form)

  8. Random Windows error messages begin to appear

  9. Your device is not running properly in some other way


Router protection

  1. Maintain newer versions of router, as older devices are more prone to vulnerabilities

  2. Passwords for routers should be complex in character and length (i.e. 23 characters or more)

  3. Do not give your router credentials to anyone [Utilize the “guest” password device for guests]

  4. Contact your internet provider for more information about how to keep your router secure

Account protection recommendations

  1. Follow recommended security guidelines with your financial institutions and accounts that house personal information, i.e. bank fraud alert, IP address protection, etc.

  2. Keep a minimal number of accounts [If you are hacked, changing passwords on numerous accounts can be very difficult, and hackers can work quickly]

  3. Consider closing all and any accounts you are not using and do not need

  4. Keep a minimal amount of personal information in accounts – only what is absolutely necessary and helpful to protect your privacy

  5. Keep track of personal information you share within accounts or other businesses [You may be required to verify the account with that information later]

  6. For security questions, do not use any information that a hacker can find online – mother’s maiden name, father’s middle name, information from Facebook*, LinkedIn*, etc. ​

  7. For higher security websites, consider using a separate email [The less exposure an email has, the less likely it is to be hacked]


Breach action plan

In the event of a breach on your device, follow these steps:

  1. Be advised that hackers can download programs to track your keystrokes; therefore, use only secure devices that are and were not connected to the same router during the hack for future communication and password changes

  2. Turn off your internet and perform all future communication and password changes using a secure internet [Public wifi is not a secure option, including hotels]​​

  3. Gain access to a secure device to perform all future communication and password changes [Public computers and track phones are not secure options. Understand that all devices that have accessed a similar network may be compromised and should not be used.]

  4. On a secure device, change all passwords to accounts

  5. On a secure device, change your internet router password for whatever router the infected device had access

  6. Contact your internet provider and phone company for additional advice about the breach

  7. Contact your credit bureaus, financial institutions, insurance companies, and the like to secure your personal information, credit, accounts, and financial assets, and consult with their fraud department on any and all measures you should take


In the event of a computer breach, perform the above tasks, as well as the following steps:

  1. Run your antivirus program​

  2. Consult reliable, professional advice immediately

  3. Turning off the computer may help unless the hacker has installed or activated a turn-on feature and may be working in the background in ways you cannot see

  4. Reinstalling your operating system may help, but consider all previous files infected until professionally cleaned [Reinstalling your OS will permanently delete all files]


In the event of a phone breach, perform the above tasks, as well as the following steps:

  1. Contact your telephone company immediately​

  2. Disconnecting your phone number may help limit hacker activity

  3. Opening a new phone account with a new number may help to prevent future activity

  4. Remove an infected app immediately [Calling the customer service number on the app may only get you in touch with the hacker, so contact the company directly, and do not give out any personal information]

  5. Turning off the phone may help unless the hacker has installed or activated a turn-on feature and may be working in the background in ways you cannot see

  6. Consult reliable, professional advice immediately

  7. ​If the phone number has been disconnected, dial the phone daily for a few weeks because hackers working with employees inside your phone company may be able to restore the line

  8. Change all two / multi-factor phone notifications to be directed to a clean phone number or clean email (changing passwords before this step may not be effective)

  9. Change all passwords for all accounts and associated apps on your phone (i.e. email)

  10. Be aware that performing a factory reset on your phone may not prevent hacker from accessing apps when access has already been gained

Please consult an internet and device security professional for additional ways to increase your security when engaging with others online.

* The mention of any products or service is not an endorsement,

and will not be held liable for the behavior or safety of these products or services.

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