With 90% of UK households having internet access, it’s easy to recognise the internet as a beneficial tool for people of all ages across the globe. However, it can be easy to forget the issue of cyber security and the unfortunate downfalls that come with this ever increasingly connected world.
With this in mind, and considering that this week is Family Safety Week, we have put together some tips to help keep you and your family safe online.
Check your settings
Are you aware of who can see what you post online? If not, check your privacy and security settings, and enable them to allow only family and friends to see your pages and posts. Spread this advice with your close ones and encourage them to tighten their privacy settings too. Even if your profile is private, personal information you have shared with others, could still be accessed through friend’s pages, as recently highlighted through the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Protect personal information
Sometimes on social media, people tend to overshare without realising it. Adding your birthday may seem harmless, but this one bit of information can open doors for a stranger to find out more information without you. Don’t post your address, mobile phone number, email address, and birthday publicly online.
Be cautious of what you post and share
Be careful what photos and videos you post and share online. Once you post a photo online, it may not be yours anymore, and it can be hard – if not impossible to take down and remove completely. Think twice before posting any content that could be useful to a cybercriminal. Avoid posting photos and videos related to your home, work or school.
Create strong passwords
To ensure that your passwords are secure, you should make them as creative (yet memorable) as possible and of course change them regularly. Avoid creating passwords which include personal information about yourself – as these can be more easily guessed. It can be difficult to keep up with all your passwords, particularly if you have several logins to numerous accounts. To help, use password managers to help prevent password reuse between systems.
Do your research
When using a new website for purchases, research is key. Make sure to read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
Ensure it is (https)secure
When browsing or shopping online, check to ensure the site is security enabled. If it begins with “https” instead of “http”, this indicates the site is using extra measures to help secure your information.
Don’t give too much information
When signing up for newsletters or registering to a website, typically you will be required to fill out a form or provide some personal information. When filling out such forms, ask yourself if the information being asked for is actually required – and for what reason. You don’t need to give out all your information – always provide as minimum information as possible.
Update anti-virus software
Make sure you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your computer, as outdated software can lead to numerous vulnerabilities.