We use the internet for everything these days – socializing, banking, shopping, maps, booking vacations – all involving handing over a lot of personal and sensitive information. The internet can be a dangerous place if it is not used correctly, and these days, hackers and fraudsters can get into your computing system and access all of these pieces of information without you realizing. Before you know it, your bank account has been drained, your identify hacked and other personal data leaked. We only have to look at recent significant data breaches from high profile companies such as Facebook and British Airways to see that no one is safe.
However, with a few precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of this happening to you. Check out these tips to find out what steps you can take to protect you and your information online.
Change passwords regularly
Remembering different passwords for all of your online accounts can be hard work, and it can be tempting to use something simple and memorable, and use the same one across everything. However, this is the worst thing you can do for your online security. Scammers can hack into your systems and install keylogging software, which records the passwords. Changing your password regularly will lower the chances of this happening to you. Other things to consider doing include:
- Using capitals and numbers randomly.
- Using words twice within a password – this confuses any wannabe keyloggers
- Use special characters
- Never use birthdays, single numbers or consecutive numbers
Delete sketchy programs or apps
Sometimes, we download an app or some software, and something doesn’t seem quite right. Trust your gut feeling – if it feels suspicious, it more than likely is. Deleting it, even if you haven’t used it, sometimes isn’t enough as it may leave remnants that can access your information or attack your device. Click here to find out more about uninstalling apps to ensure that your systems are free of anything that could potentially harm you
Always check the source
Whenever you download something onto your computer or device, one way of making sure that it is safe is by researching the source. If it is an app on your phone, check the reviews and google the app creator. This may give you a better idea of whether it is genuine and whether anyone has had any issues with it. For computer programs, making sure that you’re downloading from a safe site with a padlock in the search bar will ensure you’re not downloading something sketchy.
Install antivirus software
Many people don’t bother with antivirus software because they have an annoying habit of popping up when you are trying to do something. However, that’s what they’re there for – the whole point of them – to remind you to update and make sure that it is switched on to keep your computer safe. There is plenty of free antivirus software that you can download, but it is a good idea to do your research and invest in the very best one that you can afford.