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How to Protect Yourself Online

There’s a big digital world out there and these days, we’re all part of it. Even if you keep your time online to a minimum, there’s a good chance that you have a social media account or you’ve done online shopping before. Most companies, like banks, are switching to paperless statements and paperless billing, which means you have to log onto your online accounts to keep updated. With that in mind, our online presence gets bigger by the day, which means the amount of personal details kept online increases. How can you keep yourself safe while you’re online?

A Good Password:
You’ll need to create a password for each one of your online accounts. It has to be something memorable but it shouldn’t be something someone can easily guess. When accounts are hacked it’s often because the password was too easy. Use capital letters and numbers in your password too, to make it more difficult to guess. You shouldn’t use the same password for everything. If one account is hacked and the hackers get your password, then all of your accounts are at risk.

Don’t Advertise:
It may sound like common sense, but you don’t want to tell everyone on your social media account that you’ve just bought a new TV and then announce that you’re going on holiday tomorrow. You may trust all of your friends, but the information posted on a social media can reach people you’ve never met before. For example, when someone likes something on Facebook, everyone on that person’s friends list can see what they’ve liked, even if it’s a picture belonging to someone they’re not friends with.

Destroy Devices:
If your device has stopped working or you want to upgrade, one of the only ways you can be sure that your information stays private is to use a hard drive crusher. You could sell the ‘shell’ of the device if you wanted to, but make sure you wipe and crush the hard drive first. If you’re paranoid about someone else getting hold of vital information, you could destroy the device entirely.

Caution with Emails:
You won’t be the first or last to come across an e-mail telling you to click on the link if you want money from your long-lost Uncle. There are many e-mail scams and they get more convincing by the day. Look for wrong spellings within the email and always check the email address. If you think the e-mail is at all suspicious, do not click on the link. Here are some tips for differentiating the fake from the real.

Use an Anti-Virus Programme:
An Anti-virus programme will protect your computer from any viruses that can be picked up from e-mails or messages from unknown senders. You can also create a firewall. The firewall will stop hackers from accessing information from your computer that could give away passwords or other private and personal details. You can use systems like Norton or McAfee for this and they’ll routinely check your computer and ask you to install updates when necessary.



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