Staying Safe Online

In today’s digital where we rely on various devices such as laptops, tablets, iPads, and smartphones to connect to the internet, it is now more than ever that we should be aware of online safety.

When it comes to securing your online presence, it is crucial not to make life easy for hackers. To achieve this, it is advisable to create passwords that are difficult for potential hackers to guess. It is important to refrain from using easily discoverable information/words such as your middle name or pet’s name. Instead, include a combination of letters in capital and lowercase, numbers, and punctuation marks in your passwords. You will find that most websites will inform you whether your password is strong or not. If you suspect your account may have been hacked or compromised, it is important to change your password immediately.

To safeguard yourself from viruses and malware, it is recommended to download antivirus software on all your devices. Keeping the software up to date is vital to maximising its effectiveness in protecting you against online threats. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Privacy is of the utmost importance when managing your finances. While storing your money in a bank is advisable, it is crucial to keep your bank cards and PIN numbers secure. Consider whether it is necessary to keep your card details on your computer or online platforms. It is best to avoid doing so, as it reduces the risk of falling victim to online hacking. Prevention is key.

Another potential threat to your online security is phishing. This deceptive technique involves fraudsters attempting to trick individuals into opening malicious email attachments, with the intention of stealing personal information, email logins, passwords, and banking details. For instance, you may receive an email claiming to provide you with a list of active coronavirus infections in your area. However, to access this information, you are prompted to click on a link that redirects you to a page designed to steal your credentials. If something appears suspicious or lacks authenticity, it is wise to refrain from opening it and promptly report it to Action Fraud.

While many of us enjoy the convenience and accessibility of online shopping, it is important to stay alert and be a savvy shopper. Take caution when encountering online shops claiming to sell (for example) coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE) as some may be fraudulent and take your money without delivering the promised goods. Always ensure that the sellers are legitimate before making any purchases, and if possible, use a credit card for added insurance in case the goods do not arrive. There are many ‘pop-up’ sites that claim they will sell the same product as a well-known supplier, but it is in fact another way of hacking your personal information.

Maintaining online security and safeguarding your personal details are essential in today’s technology-driven world. By implementing the measures beforehand, you can better protect yourself from potential hackers, phishing attempts, and fraudulent online activities.

West Sussex County Council: Staying safe online.