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How to stay safe online

Dan Burt

Written by Dan Burt, lead cyber security specialist

In today's digital world, the internet has become a vital part of our lives. It offers endless possibilities for communication, entertainment, and productivity.

We want to make sure you are staying safe and protecting your personal data. Read our tips below to stay safe.

Create strong and unique passwords
Passwords are the key to your online accounts; making them strong and unique is crucial. Avoid using guessable information such as your name, birthdate, or common words.

Instead, create passwords that combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Think of a memorable phrase and transform it into a password using each word's first letter.

One of the most important things you can do is to use a different password for each account. If one account becomes compromised, it will prevent a domino effect on all other accounts.

Be wary of suspicious emails and messages
Phishing attempts are one of the most common online attacks. Hackers may send you emails or messages pretending to be from legitimate sources. It could look like they are from your bank or an online store. This an attempt to trick you into revealing sensitive information. So remember to:

  • Not open attachments or links in emails from unknown senders with caution
  • Avoid sharing personal or financial information unless you know the request is legitimate.

Keep your software updated
Keeping your devices updated is vital for maintaining a secure online experience. Software updates often include important security updated that protect your devices. Enable automatic updates whenever possible or regularly check for updates manually. This will ensure that you have the latest protection against potential threats.

Be mindful of your social media presence
Social media platforms are a great way to connect with friends and share experiences. You should still be mindful of what you share, as you never know who has a prying eye:

  • Review and adjust your privacy settings. This will allow you to control who can see your posts and personal information
  • Be cautious about accepting friend requests from unknown individuals
  • Avoid sharing your precise location in real-time
  • Be mindful of sharing holiday plans. Burglars keep a watchful eye for this kind of information.

Think before you click
Before clicking on any link, whether in an email, message, or website, take a moment to check its legitimacy. Hover your mouse over the link to see the URL's destination. If it looks suspicious or unfamiliar, don't click on it. Be wary of pop-up windows that ask for personal information or offer deals that seem too good to be true. Trust your instincts and err on the side of caution.

Stay informed
Take some time to keep up to date:

  • Educate yourself about common online scams, frauds, and security best practices
  • Follow reputable online sources
  • Subscribe to newsletters that provide updates on the latest cyber threats.

By staying informed, you will be better equipped to recognize and avoid potential dangers.

The online world can be exciting and convenient. It's important to focus on your safety and protecting your personal information. By following these non-technical tips, you can navigate the internet with confidence.

Have you been a victim of cyber crime?

Have you bought something online, and it doesn’t feel right? Get in touch with Action fraud and your bank for help.

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