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Security Basics: 5 Tips for Staying Safe Online

Feb 5, 2021

In recent years the internet has become an increasingly dangerous place due to the presence of malware, viruses, phishing e-mails and online predators which are only increasing day by day. Below, we outline 5 things every person and business should do to stay safe online.

Ongoing data breaches and identity theft cases are often the most reported issues. Even among the most “reputable” sites, there are multiple ways of collecting your personal data, which can then be stored, analysed and sold to third party platforms. The use of personal data and how they are saved and protected can create real risks for your privacy and your finances.
Check out our 5 simple steps to keep yourself safe online:

1. Use Strong Passwords

Do not choose passwords such as your name, surname, place of your birth, suburb you live in, the number sequence 123456 or the word password. These passwords provide insufficient protection and are insecure on all platforms.

A strong password is lengthy, contains at least one upper case, a punctuation mark, and a number. Try to use a password with a minimum of 8 characters.

2. Only Make Purchases Through Secure Sites

Before purchasing from an online shop, check the credibility and authority of the website. Especially when you go to an online store for the first time, it is recommended to read the terms and conditions relating to the purchase of a product and its delivery. One way to check whether a website is secure is to check that that has a padlock symbol next to the URL and “https” at the start not just “http”.

3. Be Conscious About What You Share Online

Avoid making your personal information public on your social media accounts. It is also advised not to accept friendship requests by unknown people. These people may be looking to scam you online, steal your personal photos or private information. Remember that despite deleting a comment, image or post from your account, it can remain on the internet forever.

You often have no control over the copies of images or information that other people make and save to their own data sources. So, be conscious of what you share on your social media accounts and profiles because there is no way for you to take back embarrassing photos once they have been uploaded into cyberspace.

4. Learn How to Spot Spam Emails

If you want to keep yourself safe online, it’s always a good idea to learn how to spot a spam email. Three things that might help identify a spam email are things such as the sender’s message, address, subject line and email body content. If the sender’s email address looks like spam, chances are it is!

References in the email body to prizes, password changes and other unusual requests are other clear indications of a spam email. Other indicators include grammatical errors, poorly written English, foreign languages and actions that require actions such as downloading attachments, inserting sensitive data or sending donations. In this case, avoid clicking on any links or opening attachments. Simply trash the email message straight away.

5. Install Antivirus Software

Installing antivirus software is another common and recommended way to protect yourself online. Regardless of the type of device (smartphone, tablet, or computer) and operating system (iOS, macOS, Android, or Windows), an antivirus program or software is the only way to be sure of blocking any hidden viruses on the network. It is also important to always keep your computer’s antivirus updated to ensure you are always protected against such threats.

Staying safe online is an important consideration for all internet users. Use the simple tips above to protect yourself, your family or your business.

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