Google Rolls Out Security Resources for Internet Users

Not sure how to stay safe on the Web? Check out Google's new "Good To Know" site.

Surfing the web these days can be like navigating a minefield--you'd like to take some basic security precautions, but you have no idea where to start. Google's new resource, called "Good To Know," aims to be your starting place.

Good To Know, which launched Monday, is part of a public service initiative by Google to increase awareness about online security.

"Our goal with the Good To Know campaign is to provide people with practical guidance, like how to select a safe password or keep their online accounts secure," Google Privacy Policy Counsel Will DeVries writes in a company blog.

Google already offers resources in several related areas, including privacy, security, and family safety, but tying the resources up in a single package will hopefully make the info more available to consumers.

The Good To Know website covers a variety of topics, including passwords, phishing, malware, and secure sites. Google also covers safe networks, mobile security, checking Gmail accounts, family and shopping safety, and Google security tools. There's also a Jargon Buster section that explains technical terms to security newbies.

The site is easy on the eyes, and features a light, airy design with kid-friendly line drawings. Topics are enhanced with video clips. The idea is to make the topic of Internet safety engaging, rather than repelling, and the website succeeds in doing that.

While the info at Good To Know is pretty solid, some of it (not surprisingly) is about promoting Google products, especially its Chrome web browser. To Google's credit, most of the soft-sell stuff is confined to the Security Tools section of the site, which is where it should be.

Security-awareness programs such as Good To Know are important because it's "clear that most Internet users are pretty clueless about how to best secure their computers and surf safely online," according to Sophos Senior Technology consultant, Graham Cluley.

"This isn't because the public is disinterested in protecting themselves," Cluley writes on the Naked Security blog. "But due to the fact that many people simply don't know where to turn, or how to translate complicated buzzwords, geek talk, and terminology into simple, easy-to-understand English."

Of course, awareness campaigns are only effective if the people they're intended to reach are aware of them--hopefully Google will be able to do that with Good To Know.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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