10 Top Tips To Stay Safe Online
Looking back even just twenty years, the difference in technology is vast and this has led to whole new industries launching. However, it has also led to significant security worries so we have compiled a list of top tips on how to stay safe online.
1) Be Wary of Posts
Although social media is a fantastic tool for arranging gatherings, this does not mean that you should plaster your address all over the internet. Remember, you can not take a post back after it has gone onto the internet meaning that addresses and personal details can be shared even after you have deleted a post.
Furthermore, you should also be wary of letting the internet know you are on holiday because this tells burglars that your house is empty. On a personal level, you might even want to keep your online profiles restricted so that potential employers are not put off by your ‘antics’.
2) Use Strong Passwords
Nowadays, there are all sorts of fancy equipment to hack into systems but the easiest is a simple guess of a password. For this reason, you should use passwords that people could never guess. Whether it uses a middle name that no-one is aware of, a pet’s name, or even a mixture of numbers, letters, and punctuation whilst incorporating meaningful words, make sure it is unique.
In conclusion, you should never use the same password for multiple accounts and you should remember to update your passwords more often. For instance every 28 days.
3) Never Click on Random Links
If you receive a link or attachment via an email from an address you do not recognize, do not open it because it is likely to be a virus. Even if it looks safe, it could redirect you to a different site.
Hackers will target you via your online social media accounts, via emails or even via text messages. With that being said you should always be aware of what is going on around you. A genuine company will always call you by your name for example “Dear John”.
Phishing emails tends to start with generic phrases such “Dear Customer”, “Dear Valued Customer” or even your email account name for example “Dear bacon23” instead of your name.
Always make sure that you are receiving an email from the original company and not a scammer or hacker. Emails from genuine companies will be something like “email@example.com” and not “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “firstname@C5VcSRy.com” (randomly generated).
If you want to go that extra mile and make sure the email is secure search for it on any search engine and see what comes up. If the email is genuine then, the results most likely to be their website address or something along those lines.
4) Be Wary of Emails
Continuing from the point above, emails are the most common breeding ground for spam and lethal infections so always be wary of who you reply to. Sometimes, it is obviously spam but often you do not notice. Nowadays, the spammers/hackers are using real company names and asking for information. If you look closely enough, you should see a slight difference in the email address. Although it seems impossible to avoid this so-called ‘phishing’, the best way to be sure is to not reply and phone your bank or whoever the email was from.
5) Don’t Answer Cyberbullying
If you happen to be a victim of cyberbullying, the simple solution is ‘stop, block and tell’. As soon as you answer a message or comment, it will feed the fire and make the problem worse.
When online, you should always think about what you want to say rather than what will please other people and you should always be the same as you are in person. In addition to this, you should never write something you wouldn’t say in a face-to-face exchange nor should you say anything you wouldn’t be happy to hear yourself.
6) Use Banking Security
With the investment that banks put in these days, there are many devices that you can use to stay safe whilst online banking. If you are offered this equipment, be sure to use it and make the most of it. For example, many banks offer a home card machine for you to use when you want to make transactions or simply check your account. As we have said before, your bank will not email you for personal information so be wary of rogue emails.
7) Don’t Always Trust Friends
As strange as this may sound, there is no way you can actually tell that it is your friend that you are talking to. In recent years, hacking has become a huge problem so if you receive an email from a friend with a link, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Also, stay alert to your own account because people could hack you and email all your friends. Of course, we are trying to prevent this with these tips!
8) Don’t Forget Small Print
Although it is extremely cheeky, some companies will sell your personal information for a reward so be sure to read the small print and only fill the boxes with an asterisk. Furthermore, you should also un-tick the boxes that offer you email updates and personal deals.
9) Change Password After Being Hacked
If you find that all your friends have received an email that you didn’t send, change your password instantly. Although this won’t get the emails back, you will be limiting the damage caused because many hackers lock the owner out of their own accounts. Also, be sure to email your contacts telling them to ignore the previous email.
10) Use Anti-Virus Programmes
In fact, use all the anti-spyware programs and firewalls you can. As long as you don’t have programmes that interfere with each other, you can have a nice little setup where even the world’s best hackers would have trouble getting through. Even when you make a mistake online, these programmes will do their best to stop it from attacking your computer.
Regardless of whether you choose Windows’ firewall or a third-party program, make sure you have one set up so your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone can stay protected.
Steering from the Crozetts, we fell in with vast meadows.
31st August 2018
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