Staying Safe On-Line

We all do loads of ‘stuff’ on-line, we book holidays, read the news, chat to our friends and even buy our groceries. Sadly, it also seems that every day there is another online company gets hacked and compromising it’s customer’s username and passwords.

So what’s the answer, should we just stop using the web? Well realistically, that just isn’t going to happen is it, especially as the Internet is cram packed full of educational tools and resources. internet use in schools is on the up and whilst there are mechanisms in place to protect users from the obvious, there will always be potential threats on the internet.

The following is my top tips to a safe on-line life:

Dodgy emails

Responding or opening emails from people you don’t know is always a risk. Be very careful with emails offering you something free, or emails that want you to click a link. Never respond to an email from your bank asking you to re-validate your user-name, password or bank details. If a bank sends you an email, they normally have a security validation with in the email, for example they will tell you the last part of your postcode in the email (something that can not be faked).

There is a whole range of what I call the ‘zip file emails’. These emails appear to be from people you mitt just deal with, such as Fedex, the Inland Revenue or your bank. They all have a zip file attached. Sadly, opening the zip file will likely bring yo a word of pain.

Use your instinct, if an email looks dodgy then it probably is. Just delete it.

‘Keep me signed in’

We all click the button on login to a site to ‘keep me logged in’, with so many passwords these days it just makes our life so easy. Never, ever, click this button on a shared PC, for example a PC in a classroom or library. Only use this function on your own PC – and even then, just think about the data that on the site.

It wouldn’t be great if some else sat at a PC after you and revisited the sites you were on… as you? Imagine what they could do on your Facebook account, or worse.

Keep your software up to date

Many internet threats exploit weaknesses or holes in software coding. Software vendors continually update their software to keep it secure, so make sure you keep ‘auto-update’ enabled. It might be a bit of a pain to re-boot your PC when Microsoft send you a security patch, but it will keep you safe – so just do it. It’s also important to make sure your virus signatures are up-to date, so once again keep them up-to date.

Naughty Content

If you went to a large city on holiday, there would be areas you would avoid. You would stick to the respectable areas and avoid the less-desirable parts. Guess what, the web is just the same! As soon as you go looking for free software, downloading music or movies or other porn you are entering the Internet’s Ghetto. A place where any website you visit may contain a hidden surprise such as a virus or a trojan. My best advice, stay away.

Clearly, our Internet solutions include a robust content filtering solution to manage this situation, but users with mobile devices will always use the internet away from the site.

Don’t give your Bank details away

Easier said than done, especially when you are shopping. However, once again try to stick to respectable sites. One tip is to use paypal, or a similar payment site. Using a payment site means that the end supplier never has your card details, just giving you that added level of protection.

Connecting to ‘Free Internet’ Connections

If you’re out and about with your laptop and looking to connect to the web, be careful of free wi-fi solutions. Connections with a wireless name such as ‘free internet’ should be approached with caution.

There will always be threats out there and it’s very difficult to be 100% safe, but thinking about the above and acting upon potential risks will help keep your web-world safe.

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