Browsing the internet from the comfort of your own home might feel safer than being in the outside world right now. But there are an ever-increasing variety of threats you could be exposed to online, so it’s important to take steps to protect your data and identity.
The UK’s cybersecurity agency has had to tackle more scams in the past year than in the previous three years combined. Attackers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to prey on unsuspecting internet users, with many scams now linked to coronavirus itself.
If you know you need to wise up to their tactics, here are five effective ways to stay safe online.
Check If your Data is Already at Risk
Data breaches are more common than you might think, so it’s worth using an identity theft checker to see if your personal information has already been exposed.
Identity theft can have long-lasting effects, including damaging your credit score. If you find that your data has been released in a breach, you could be eligible to claim data protection breach compensation.
Create Strong Passwords
There’s a valid reason why almost all websites encourage you to enter a strong password when creating an account with them. Names and dates of birth are far easier for opportunistic criminals to guess!
Include several lower and upper-case letters in your passwords, along with numbers and special characters. You could use a random password generator if you’re struggling for inspiration.
Use Secure Websites
Just like you might think twice about handing money over in a sketchy-looking store, it’s wise to inspect a website before entering any valuable information.
Does the page have ‘https’ in its URL for example, or just http? The ‘s’ indicates that it’s a secure suite – as does the lock symbol in the address bar. These two characteristics mean that no-one else can see your personal information.
Use a Protected Internet Connection
It’s wise to password-protect your internet connection to keep strangers in the vicinity from getting access and stealing information.
You should also avoid doing anything other than basic browsing if using public Wi-Fi, as your device will be more accessible to hackers.
Get Savvy to Scams
Even with the best security technology around, it’s likely you’ll still be exposed to scams from time to time. Knowing how to spot them will keep you from being lured into their trap.
Avoid opening emails or attachments from unfamiliar senders, and don’t click on links in unusual emails. Any request to provide money or personal details is likely to be fraudulent.
We’re doing more online than ever before, so follow the tips above to stay safe in the process.