There are more and more scare stories of online security threats. The news has been awash with online hacks lately. This year we have seen celebrities being hacked and had their personal photos leaked. Closer to home, internet banking fraud is a very real threat. On a much small level, we have all come across strange email attachments. Many of us will have experienced a hacked Twitter account and tweeted spam without realising.
It can happen to anyone. The only way to prevent it is to take serious preventative steps. It means taking a larger look at your online presence and tightening up security. There are plenty of simple things you can put in place today. Following that you’ll need to stay vigilant, but once you know what to look for, that’s easy too. Follow these simple steps to staying secure online.
Use strong, unique passwords
There are now so many services that require a password that we tend to reuse the same one over and over. Although this is practical, it is bad security practice. You really ought to have a different password for every service and make it as unique as possible. You can use a password memory service to help you keep track of them all. Just make sure they are different. You’ll want to make sure you retain some privacy online. Your email account and online banking in particular should be very strong. Include letters, numbers and capitals to make it hard to break.
Don’t click on strange email attachments or software update popups
This one should be straightforward, but it’s amazing how often we do it without thinking. Email attachments and software updates are designed meticulously to appear real. Popups in particular can be deceiving. If it isn’t from your computer’s built-in software, it could be dangerous. If a strange number called your phone, you’d lookup area codes and see who called. You should be no less vigilant online. If you’ve got an email from someone you don’t recognise, be careful what you click on.
Change your home router password
Many people will never do this, yet it is vitally important. If your internet connection is compromised, cyber thieves can find out all sorts of information. Your wifi will extend into the next house and can be fairly easily hacked. Keep it secure by changing the original password. Then change it again two or three times a year
Keep Antivirus up to date
Viruses can enter your computer in all manner of ways. Even if you don’t click on popups or strange email attachments, they can infiltrate. Your computer is constantly downloading information from the internet. This can come with all manner of small viruses. Keep your software up to date and use the ‘health check’ function regularly.
Once you know what to look for, staying secure online is easier than you think. Keep changing passwords across all of your accounts. Be wary of any unexpected links and don’t download anything unless you are 100% sure of its safety.