Simple Ways to Stay Safe Online

We may all think we’re doing everything we can to stay safe online. Especially after a pandemic that led us to be on our devices and online more than ever before! But are you covering all bases and making sure that your business is kept safe, and your personal life and family are cyber secure too?

Nowadays, it’s not just about being careful with spam emails and online shopping. We unknowingly hand over vast amounts of data to companies that could be used in ways we would prefer they didn’t. Making sure we keep our data as safe as possible is the best way to avoid hackers, online criminals or even terrorists and foreign governments getting their hands on our information.

Read our hints and tips and see if you can improve your online safety both at home and at work.

Review your privacy settings on all online accounts.

The standard settings that social media and email systems come with may not be enough. Check you are keeping your important details private so that Phishing scams don’t get through the net.

Don’t ignore software updates.

Updates contain patches that keep your device secure. Leaving these updates because they take too long or change your device means you could be making yourself an easy target for hackers and online criminals.

Avoid downloading dodgy apps.

Always check current reviews and ask for recommendations before downloading an app and always make sure you’re downloading them through a reputable store like Google Play, Microsoft Store or Apple App Store. Doing this provides protection as all apps are vetted before they are uploaded to these stores.

Before responding to all those harmless looking questions on Facebook, think about what information they’re getting from you. Are they using the information to build up a detailed picture of your profile for illicit purposes?

Use strong passwords for your accounts.

Yes, your child’s birthday or name may be easy to remember but it’s also easy for strangers to find out (you know you updated Facebook on that day! “Welcome to the World Christopher James Smith who was born at 7.13 am on 22 March 2011) Make sure that passwords are longer than eight characters, have upper and lowercase letters and contain numbers and/or other characters. Try three memorable words together. Use numbers and punctuation together, or think of a memorable saying or quote and use the first letter from each word e.g. IHADMLK1963 – I Have A Dream, Martin Luther King, 1963).

Don’t save passwords to your device.

Yes, it makes life a lot easier on a day-to-day basis. But, if that password is stored on your device, it can also be found on your device by criminals. Using a memorable selection of letters means that you don’t need to store it, but if you struggle with the number of passwords you must remember, you can use a secure app that keeps passwords safe for you. LastPass, Bitwarden and NordPass are just some of the many available.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

If given the option, use MFA for all your important accounts. It does what it says on the tin and double-checks that you are who you say you are by sending an email to your registered email address or a verification code to your mobile phone. Using this on your children’s accounts is also an effective way of tracking their usage and keeping them secure too.

Be open, honest and educate.

Whether it be in your workplace or your home, ensure that all colleagues and family know what to look out for when it comes to phishing emails or unusual activity on their devices and accounts. It is also important that they feel they can report issues to you or the authorities if it is suspicious.

What does your online safety look like? Can you tick off all the actions above? If not, take five minutes to secure your device and accounts today and avoid any security issues later down the line.