Top tips for staying safe on the internet

It’s no secret that the internet is home to more shady characters than an episode of Midsomer Murders, however, that doesn’t mean you have to turn your internet off.

 

This month, to celebrate Safer Internet Day on the 7th February, we’re giving you our top tips for staying safe online.

 

Keep personal information professional and limited

Potential employers or customers don’t need to know your personal relationship status or your home address. They do need to know about your expertise and professional background and how to get in touch with you. You wouldn’t hand purely personal information out to strangers individually so don’t hand it out to millions of people online.

 

Keep your privacy settings on

Marketers love to know all about you and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and social media usage but you can take charge of your information. Major websites like Facebook have privacy-enhancing settings available, these settings are sometimes (deliberately) hard to find because companies want your personal information for its marketing value. Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards and keep them enabled.

 

Be careful what you download

A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware, these are simply programs or apps that carry viruses or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.  Don’t download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.

 

Choose strong passwords

You may think that everybody knows not to use ‘Password123’ or simply their mothers maiden name when creating a password, however, you’d be amazed at the amount of people who still do just that.

Passwords are one of the biggest weak spots in the whole Internet security structure but there’s currently no way around them. Select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to crack. A password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don’t forget them. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 15 characters long, mixing letters, numbers, special characters and using upper and lower case letters too.

 

Double-check any links before you click

When checking your email or scrolling through social media, make sure you know and trust any links before you click on them.

One way to tell if a link is safe is to hover your mouse over it. This will show a preview of the full link in your web browser’s status bar. Check to make sure the preview link matches the site it should be from—you can verify the correct site link by googling the company name.

 

Turn your Bluetooth off

A team of researchers recently found that Bluetooth communications can be compromised and even manipulated. They were able to exploit a vulnerability in a Bluetooth connection, then listen to and change the content of nearby Bluetooth communications.

That’s not to say you should never use your Bluetooth. But if you’re not paired to another device and actively using it, it’s best to turn it off. You might even save some of your phone’s battery by doing that.

 

Backup your data

With the use of third-party products, often at a low subscription fee, you’re able to secure your data in the cloud. Data backups can be a lifesaver if your computer gets infected with a virus: you should be able to restore your computer to its original state before it got infected.

 

If you’re still worried about the safety of your PC and data while online or need support with backups, get in touch with our friendly team.  We’ll speak in plain English and keep those pesky shady characters firmly away from your valuable information, contact us HERE.

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