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WALES THIS WEEK: How to Stay Safe Online

Online Security Tips

By Alun Jones

  1. New viruses are constantly being developed in which case you should ensure that both your firewall and your anti-virus software is up to date. Some software developers include updates within the cost of their anti-virus packages in which case it may be worth considering this as a valuable investment.
  1. The passwords you use could make the difference between a secure and an insecure account so try to avoid using anything too obvious such as a birth date or child’s name; ideally your password would also contain a mixture of letters and numbers.
  1. Always ensure that you use different passwords for each of your accounts and try to change these as often as you can.
  1. Store your passwords and other personal information in a safe place away from your computer or mobile device
  1. Never send passwords and other personal information by email or text message as this will be stored in the recipient’s inbox as well as your own outbox and can be retrieved at any time, with or without your permission.
  1. Do not leave your computers on day and night as this will increase the likelihood of your device being targeted by a hacker or other online criminal
  1. Do not open or accept email or social networking invitations and links from people you do not know, however curious you are as you may find yourself the victim of a click jacking scam
  1. Think before you act – If you are being asked to share personal information ask yourself why. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be your bank for example and you are being asked for your personal details, consider the reasons why they may have been contacting you and if you are still unsure give them a call using a number which you already have on file rather than the one in the email.
  1. Before you post a comment or upload a photograph to a social networking site ask yourself if you are happy for this data to become publicly available. Who will read your post and what information can they gather from that?
  1. Familiarise yourself with your personal security settings on any websites you visit regularly; do not assume that the site will default to the most secure option as this is rarely the case.
  1. Do not enter personal information into any website while you are in an open or free Wi Fi zone. Open wireless access points are a convenient option but their security is limited and any information you share could be harvested by a third party.
  1. Never forget that your phone is not just a phone, it is a computer capable of making calls and just like your computer you should invest in antivirus software to ensure it is protected
  1. Log out and lock it up. Never leave a website without first logging out as this could mean that your account can be accessible by an unknown third party
  1. Your PC, mobile phone, tablet and other devices are more than likely fitted with the ability to activate a security code. If this is the case, use it.

For more advice on your online security options and for information on this year’s Online Safety Day (7th Feb) visit the following websites:

 

http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/online-safety/

 

http://www.getsafeonline.org/

 

http://www.ecrimewales.com/

 

http://www.saferinternetday.org/web/guest/sid-2012

 

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