Online Security

Online Password Advice

Posted on December 15, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Whenever you create an online account, you will find that you need to choose a password. Most sites have a rating system where it will tell you if the password you have chosen is weak, moderate or strong. Ideally, you always want your password to be strong as this will provide you with the most protection.

Most people seem to think they should have the same password for every website, possibly with slight changes, for example, different capital letters, numbers or punctuation. But this is not the best thing you can do. Ideally, you want to have different passwords everywhere, this way if someone does happen to find your email and password combination for one site, they will find this does not work on any other site, as you have been security aware.

It is also a great idea to update and change your passwords every so often. This way it is less likely for hackers to discover your password and gain access to your account this way.

Posted in Online Security

Fight cyber crime by upping your internet security

Posted on November 10, 2022 at 9:01 am

In order to protect yourself and your family from cyber crime it is vital that you acknowledge that you are probably a target and that you act accordingly. Some people believe it will never happen to them and are not vigilant enough to prevent themselves from being scammed. So, here are some tips to up your internet security.

At a minimum you need to run security software on every device you use to access sensitive information. If your devices are sometimes left unattended, configure them to auto-lock, and to require a strong password to unlock them. Only install software from reputable sources, such as official app stores and official vendor and reseller websites as some sites may contain viruses and tracking software that will be downloaded without you realising it. It is important to keep your computer or phone software up to date so that the latest security features are enabled.

Never access sensitive information over free public Wi-Fi and consider avoiding using such internet access altogether, especially from any device on which you perform sensitive activities or access sensitive information. The connection provided by your cellular service is likely far more secure than any public Wi-Fi.

The common cyber scams targeting online shoppers are receiving communication from a retailer, shipper, or any other party related to an online shopping order that is not a genuine communication. To check any communication, open a web browser, go to the website of the relevant “sender,” locate its contact information, and contact it directly to ask about the message you received.

Posted in Online Security

How secure is a mobile banking app?

Posted on February 19, 2022 at 11:07 pm

More and more people are opting to use a mobile app to do their day to day banking but worryingly the incidence of online fraud through these apps is also on the rise. Is it a secure way of dealing with our finances then or should we be logging back onto our laptops and computers or even visiting our local branch in person?

It seems as if the current trend in banks is to close lots of their branches especially in smaller towns, so people are being forced into conducting their banking online. For people who are not online or not very tech savvy this can cause problems. Some banks have support people online to help those who are unfamiliar with online banking apps and sometimes a phone call to the bank is all that is needed to talk customers through issues.

Keeping security details secret and not easily guessed is vital to the mobile banking app’s security. It is a good idea to regularly change your password and not to have the same password for multiple accounts. Some banks give customers the facility to suspend remote purchases for an account therefore, if a hacker gets your details they are not able to go on a spending spree at your expense.

Posted in Online Security

Is going online the new stranger danger for children?

Posted on October 31, 2020 at 1:30 pm

We have recently realised more than ever the important part that digital devices play in our lives and the way that they can help us to keep in touch with friends and family, play games and share photographs but how do we keep our children safe when they are using the internet?

The main issue for parents is that sometimes the children know more about the internet and social media than them, but it is important to find out by doing some research the basics. Some of the restrictions that will need to be put on your child’s online activity will be dependent upon their age. For instance, young children should not be able to access the internet without you monitoring what content they are viewing. Parental controls can be set up to ensure this is the case. Games they play on should have in app purchases turned off and be rated as appropriate to their age. It is a good idea at this stage to talk about the importance of keeping your real name, age and location secret to all but friends.

The situation becomes more problematic with teenage children as monitoring everything they do online is not feasible however parental controls can be set so that whatever they access online can be viewed by the parent which in itself may constrain their viewing. As is the case in other areas of life it is sensible to have conversations with the children in your care, in this case explaining the dangers of posting images and comments online and the possible impact of this both for themselves and others.

Posted in Online Security

How protected are you when buying online?

Posted on September 16, 2020 at 8:33 am

In recent years, the number of people buying products online has increased dramatically partly due to the shopping restrictions because of the pandemic and perhaps also due to the bargains that can be found when shopping online. It is particularly important when buying online that you take precautions to make sure that your details and payment methods are secure to prevent fraud but if you follow these simple steps there should be no issues.

Firstly, only buy from genuine websites. Google the site to check that it is legitimate and look at reviews that other customers have posted and if in doubt, look elsewhere.

Make sure your antivirus is up to date. Some antivirus software has a built-in website checker which will indicate whether a website is safe and secure giving you added reassurance when shopping.

When you have decided on your purchase and are ready to check out look carefully at the address bar at the top of the screen to make sure it has https instead of http. This along with a lock symbol shows that it is a secure page.

Entering payment details and setting up passwords should only be completed on private computers not public ones and remember me tick boxes are best avoided if possible. Paying by credit card or by PayPal gives the buyer additional protection from fraud and so is a wise choice. Two step verification offered by most banks gives another layer of security when using a card to make a purchase online.

Posted in Online Security

Making Sure you Don’t Fall Victim to Online Scams

Posted on March 31, 2018 at 9:27 am

Scams are becoming a real risk for internet users in the UK. There are many hackers and scammers about, who are looking to steal people’s details, steal money or intercept transactions in order to get their hands on money that isn’t theirs. There are some things you can do to make sure you stay safe online and don’t fall victim to scams:

  • Never give out your bank details. If someone asks you for your bank details over the internet, never give them out. Your bank wouldn’t do this, but people try to pose as your bank so that you trust them.
  • Don’t open emails if they look unusual. If there is a link within the email and you don’t know who it’s from, do not click on it.
  • Be wary if someone changes their bank details. If you get an email from a company claiming they have changed their bank details, check with them first – and use the details you have on file, not the ones in the email, as these could be fraudulent too.

Posted in Online Security

Retail Cyber Security – How Safe are your Details?

Posted on November 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

The internet provides a quick and easy way to shop, especially in the lead up to Christmas. It’s a simple case of choosing your products online, then entering your credit or debit card details to complete your purchase. But are these details safe when used online?

Worryingly, cyber attacks rose significantly in the first half of 2016. This is in some ways inevitable and the prevalence of online shopping continues to grow. More online sales means more opportunities for people to steal details. There have recently been some very high profile instances of data theft, often within large organisations.

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent your details being stolen online:

  • Use different passwords. Weak password make it easy for criminals to access your account, especially if you also have weak security questions set up.
  • Make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date. This will prevent malware getting onto your computer that could compromise your security.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis. Do not store them within websites, especially if you share a computer.
  • Pay online or use a well-known money transfer service.Do not send money directly to someone’s account, unless you know them personally.
  • If you pay online, use a credit card as this will give you the highest level of protection.
  • Use secure, reputable websites when making payments. If something doesn’t look quite right, stop immediately.
    • Look out for the lock symbol in the browser window frame.
    • Use an https:// website when making payments.
    • Check the website’s security and privacy policy.

Following these pointers will help you to stay safe and secure online. If you are vigilant at all times, you are far less likely to encounter fraud. If you notice anything suspicious on your account, contact your bank immediately. Keep receipts and records of your transactions just in case you do experience any security difficulties online.

Posted in Online Security

Mobile Phone Safety and Security

Posted on August 26, 2016 at 10:05 am

There are a number of things that you should do when using a mobile phone in order to stay safe.It’s important to protect yourself from everyday crime, as well as from cyber security threats. Here are some of our top tips to stay safe and secure when using a mobile phone:

  • Don’t save your password in your mobile phone internet browsers. If you phone gets stolen, the thief could access all of your person details.
  • Don’t stay logged into apps that contain sensitive information. Many, like banking apps, will automatically log you out after a set period of time, but it never hurts to double check.
  • Be vigilant when using your mobile phone in busy public places. This is where thefts often happen, as it’s very easy for a thief to snatch a phone out of someone’s hand.
  • Be wary of text scams. If you receive text messages asking for personal details, especially bank details, ignore and delete them. If a legitimate organisation really wants to get hold of you, they will not send you a text.

Posted in Online Security

Staying Safe When Booking a Holiday Online

Posted on May 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

The internet has made many things easier for us, and finding a good bargain on a holiday is one of them. There are so many sites available where you will be able to search through various holidays and find much cheaper options than you would by booking through a travel agent. However, you will need to ensure that you stay safe when booking and don’t fall for a scam. Here are some tips:

  1. Look for reviews. There are lots of review sites available where you will be able to read about other people’s experiences. Companies that have lots of negative reviews are probably not trustworthy.
  2. Find sites yourself and don’t rely on marketing emails. It is very easy for people to send spam via email that will lure you in and take you through to a fake website.
  3. Speak to someone in person. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a site, call them on the relevant number. A lack of contact details is probably a warning sign.
  4. Check that the holidays have all of the correct accreditations. The main ones to look out for are ABTA and ATOL.
  5. Ask people for websites that they recommend. By taking recommendations, you know that the site you’re using has been used by others is legitimate.
  6. Check the property details elsewhere. Search for the address, look it up on a map and make sure that everything looks correct.
  7. Don’t make any payments unless you feel completely comfortable. If you’re ever unsure, do some more research or speak to someone beforehand.

Posted in Online Security

Staying Secure When Using WiFi

Posted on February 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm

You can connect up a range of devices to the internet using a wireless connection. These can include mobile phones, computers, tablets and even items like televisions and household appliances. WiFi is incredibly useful but it can also pose some security risks if hackers are able to access it. However, there are some easy steps you can take to prevent this happening.

If you’re out and about and are ever unsure of a wireless network, do not connect to it. Often there will be lots of locations which have perfectly safe WiFi, such as bars and coffee shops. However, if you’re not sure who the network belongs to it’s safer not to connect to it.

For your home WiFi, it’s important that you choose a strong password. This will prevent other people being able to access it in your locality, and will make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access. It’s also a good idea to change the default name of the network so that people can’t work out its manufacturer and interfere with its settings.

You should use encryption to obscure messages being sent by your WiFi. This is a simple process and all you have to do is enable encryption on the security settings page for your router. Whilst you’re altering the settings, you might also want to hide the network ID so that it’s not shown to anyone who is in range.

Posted in Online Security

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