7 Tips to Staying Safe Online

In honour of safer internet day today, we’ve put together a list of 7 top tips to help you stay safe online.

1 - How To Create A Strong Password

The strongest passwords tend to be on the longer side. Generally, a minimum of 12 words is a good start, lowercase and uppercase, but the longer better. Another thing to bear in mind when creating a good password is to use not only letters but also numbers and symbols. You want a good, strong password, particularly for important accounts (such as online banking) to decrease the risk of being hacked. Lastly, change your password frequently.

2 - Staying Safe While Online Shopping

Use a secure payment method, such as PayPal or credit cards, rather than de when making a shopping purchase online. This way you get buyer protection and won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges. Also beware of fake shopping apps that may appear in in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, that try to trick shoppers into making purchases for goods that don’t exist.

3. Check If The Website Is Secure

Look out for the following signs to know you are shopping safely with a secure website. And remember, only put your card details into secure websites.  There are some telltale signs to let you know whether a website is secure. These included the following; there should be a padlock symbol in the address bar next to the website address and sometimes the padlock symbol is even green. The web address should also start with https:// And finally, a good way to check if a website is secure is by clicking on the padlock symbol the left of the address bar. Here you will see information on the site certificate which should tell you who has registered the site. If you get a warning about a certificate, avoid the website.

4. Wifi Hotspot Security

Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you're setting yourself up for identity theft. This is because most wifi spots don’t encrypt your data. So avoid using public wifi for things that require you to log in any personal information, e.g. your bank details. This applies to mobile phones as well as laptops and tablets. Be aware when you're using a hotspot that any information you send through the Internet could be picked up and if it’s sensitive or personal, it is recommended you log this in at home.

5. Using Emails Safely

Avoid opening email attachments received unexpectedly, no matter who appears to have sent it. Also if you are sent links within an email, type out the URL in your browser to make sure you're going to the site you think you're visiting instead of just clicking the given link. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem to be from legitimate sites, such as banks and online stores. Also, remember that real sites won't ask for important information over email. If you receive something that doesn’t feel right, you can always mark that email address as spam or even block it.

6. Are You Using The Latest Internet Browser?

Every time there is a new version of an internet browser, there will be a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security. This can weaken your online safety.  Updates will keep you ahead of potential identity thieves and keep your credit safe.

7. Do you have an antivirus installed?

This is one simple way to make sure you’re safe online. All you have to do is pay for and set up your antivirus and that’s it. Or if you’ve already got one installed, make sure it’s up to date. Updates often contain changes which help protect you are your devices from scammers and online criminals. (Most antivirus software can be configured to do this automatically). Also, Use a firewall,  it takes just moments for a non-firewalled computer to be infected so stay safe by installing one.