Staying Safe Online: What You Should Know

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of our days online, whether it be on our computers or our phones. Consequently, we mustn’t forget that we face several threats whilst surfing the online world. We’ve heard a lot recently about various cyber-attacks and viruses that have hit institutions. Let’s not forget that they can affect our devices too. As a result here are some tips on how to stay safe online this year. 

Create complex passwords: This is a generic rule that we hear all the time but it is vital. Setting a strong password for our accounts online is one of the simplest yet effective ways to keep safe online. With the amount of accounts and passwords we need online these days, it’s only natural to keep it simple and easy for ourselves by sticking to one password for everything. However, this makes it very easy for hackers to infect your system with malware and to possibly steal your personal information. It is recommended that your passwords be at least 12 characters in length which include a variety of characters such as numbers, upper case, lower case and special characters. If you fear you will forget your limitless amount of unique passwords, you can always use a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane or Sticky Password which allows you to store your passwords safely, so you don’t have to remember them all! 

Make sure your software is up to date: As new vulnerabilities present themselves, companies release updates and patches to keep you protected. Delaying these software updates can put your device at risk. Therefore, it’s important that you keep your operating system, web browser, antivirus program and other software on your device up to date. To reduce the headache of keeping on top of updates, enable automatic updates in your settings. 

Use a reputable antivirus: Antivirus is a key aspect when it comes to keeping safe online. It protects you against viruses, malware and other malicious software. Keeping your antivirus up to date is vital to get the most out of it.

Beware of public Wi-Fi: Now… We’ve all been guilty of using public Wi-Fi at some point. However, what you may not know is that it poses some security risks. As some public hotspots don’t use encryption at all, information can be easily intercepted by hackers. Therefore, be wary when inputting certain information online over a public connection. It is suggested that you shouldn’t input any login details or banking information in order to stay safe.

Don’t forget your mobile device:  With the majority of us using smartphones these days, hackers have also turned their efforts to infecting our mobiles with malware and stealing important details, don’t forget to add a security software to your phone. Most likely the antivirus you use on your computer can also be used on your phone. 

Be smart: If you have all these measures in place, that’s great! But, don’t unnecessarily invite danger on to your devices by clicking dodgy links. There are many phishing threats online, which consist of spam emails, “free” offers, click bait amongst others to encourage you to enter personal information. These are fraudulent and put you at risk! Watch out for anything that looks fake, sounds too good to be true or asks for too much personal information. 

Customise privacy settings: Remember that you can always customize settings for various things online to suit you. For example, changing the privacy settings on your social media profile can avoid everything of yours being seen by strangers which may leave you vulnerable. 

The threats that are posed online may sound scary, however preparation is key and is the best way to handle these various risks. These tips should help you protect your devices as much as possible in order to escape any risky wrong-doings.