As a Hampshire marketing agency whose work is predominantly online, internet security is a big issue for us and those we work with. The start of a new year is the perfect time just to remind people of five simple steps to protect yourself online. It can be easy to make a simple mistake and the traps that are set for us look ever more authentic. We make no apologies if you know all of this already. But it may be helpful to share with others too, as there is a common enemy out there.
Passwords are a pain, we all know that. Never share your password with anyone and use a different password for every online account. If you do need to write passwords down, do it in a way that only you can be reminded of them and keep the paper they are printed on in a secure place. The more characters a password has, the harder it is to crack. Here is a link to a ‘How to…’ guide Creating a Strong Password.
Install anti-virus software
Viruses and malicious software can infect your devices (desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone) enabling criminals to steal private information. To prevent the likelihood of this occurring, install anti-virus software AND update it regularly.
Never click on unknown links
I think this is the one that can ‘get you’ if you let your guard down. Opening attachments or clicking on links in unfamiliar emails or texts can lead to malicious software being downloaded onto your device.
Verify requests for payments
Criminals will imitate the look of emails, websites and phone numbers to assist their fraudulent activities. Don’t transfer any money until you can confirm who you are sending it to. If you are unsure, contact the company directly using a known email and/or a telephone number.
It’s OK to be suspicious
In the online world, people are not always who they say they are. Don’t assume that an email request or a caller is genuine. A legitimate organisation, especially in financial services for example, will want to give you the time and space to be comfortable that they are authentic. If your instinct tells you something may not be quite right, listen to it. You always have the right to question someone and to refuse to provide information at that point in time. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For further helpful information about staying safe online, click Get Safe Online