Staying safe online

The internet is a great, modern tool but it is important to understand some of the basic rules and best practices to ensure your internet safety.

1. Keep your systems up to date.

The most popular operating systems (Apple, Microsoft and Linux) provide automatic security updates. As long as you have an internet connection, these systems should remain updated but sometimes when you notice your system is slowing down or not running as smoothly as usual it’s worth checking whether updates have been installed. We recommend that you schedule these updates weekly, at a time where you’re lightly using your computer (e.g. checking emails)

2. If you have your laptop or PC in a bedroom, cover up the webcam.

There are a number of remote access Trojans (RATS) that allow an attacker to view you from your webcam. Invest in a webcam cover to physically block the camera lens on your smart devices

3. When shopping online make sure the site is https and shows the padlock icon in the browser bar.

4. Use a credit card for online purchases as this offers more protection from fraud.

5. Change the default password on your home routers and wireless hub.

The passwords on a home router are set up for you, but the default passwords are easily broken. Change your passwords to something more secure to increase your internet safety. Log in to the router (the password is normally on the back of the router) and then follow the guidance from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) for changing the password.

6. Change the firewall setting on your wireless router.

The firewall on a router is normally set to low. Therefore your router is not looking very deeply at your traffic and not giving you full protection. You can reset this to either medium or high. If you are a gamer and play online games you will need to review this as it will stop games from playing.

7. Finally, back up your data, either to a hard drive or cloud provider.

Google or Carbonite are possible providers. All it takes is a simple mistake or malicious ransomware virus and you could lose all the files on your computer forever. By backing up you can restore your system if this happens to you.

These tips should help you stay safe online and remember – make sure you backup your data!

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