Being safe online is something we should all be weary of, especially during the festive period when the threats are greater. There are simple steps we can all take to ensure we are as secure online as possible, check out the list below, for more information visit CyberStreetWise.
Check for updates regularly and ensure they are installed quickly. Updates often offer additional features and functionality, which can give you more control over your privacy preferences. Ensure that your operating system, browsers and software are all up to date, as security vulnerabilities are often resolved with updates. Don’t forget, this doesn’t apply only to desktop computers and laptops, your smartphones and tablets have the same vulnerabilities so ensure all your devices are updated regularly.
Use Secure Passwords
Passwords are the key to your personal data online, therefore it is imperative to use passwords that are hard to crack. Where possible, avoid using the same password for different accounts such as email and shopping websites. Good passwords use three words or more, contain symbols & numbers and use a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters. If you find remembering all your passwords a chore, take a look at LastPass, who will generate really secure passwords for you and save them so you don’t need to keep typing them. If you’re worried about keeping your passwords in one place, use two-step authentication which will require you to use ‘Google Authenticator’ on your phone to allow you to login.
Check the security of the website by ensuring it uses ‘https://’. When making purchases, use credit cards, as they offer more protection and you can normally get your money back in the case of fraud. Use search engines to check for reviews on potential websites you’re looking to make a purchase on. Check returns policy and delivery guidelines, so that your expectations are clear. If ever in any doubt, leave the site straight away and do not enter any details.
Install & Update Security Software
Make sure your computer has anti-virus and firewall software installed, this will help prevent any intrusions in the first instance. Remember, your smartphone is also vulnerable, so ensure that all your devices are as protected as your computer. All operating systems are vulnerable, even Apple computers. Although there are a lot less viruses knocking around for Mac Computers, the threat is still there so ensure you’re protected.
You’ll probably know about fake emails, the common ones include, ‘you’ve inherited money’, or ‘please look after my wealth’. There are also a number of risks with so-called, ‘Phishing’ sites, these are websites that are made to look like official platforms (like internet banking) and try to con you into entering your details. Be wise, and check the address in the address bar, if anything looks suspicious, enter the website using the channels you would normally use.
Monitor your Online Privacy
Do you know who you are sharing your content with on social media websites? Take time to check your privacy settings, and ensure people who shouldn’t be seeing your content aren’t! People can use social media sites to try and commit identity theft, so don’t get caught out, don’t share anything sensitive and remember to logout when you’re finished.