How to stay safe online

A coffee next to a laptop

As we venture further into this new digital age, the security of your personal data grows more and more important. That’s why, for this article, we’ve decided to delve into the world of online security. Below you’ll find a series of strategies that we recommend you employ to protect your presence online…

Keep software up to date

Make sure to keep installing software updates for your devices and programs. You can turn on automatic updates for many devices and applications for those of you with busy schedules. Staying up to date with security updates helps to protect your data from the newest digital threats out there.

Avoid phishing scams

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords or credit card information. They can be carried out by phone, text or through social media – but, most commonly, email. As a rule of thumb, financial institutions or governmental agencies will not ask for your personal passwords or credit card information via communications. Be suspicious of any official looking email, message or phone call that asks for personal or financial information.

Practice good password management

Lots of us have too many passwords to manage, so it’s easy to cut corners like reusing the same password. We recommend that you try to have a different password for each account you have online and if you cannot remember them, it may be best to download some password management software or to keep a hard copy of them somewhere secure.

Here are general rules you’ll want to follow when it comes to passwords:

  • Use long passwords – 20 or more characters is recommended.
  • Use a strong mix of characters, numbers, punctuation marks and letters.
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • Update your passwords periodically, at least once every six months.

Use mobile devices safely

Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives and, more often than not, we use them regularly to communicate and stay up to date with our business. A few tips for securing your mobile device include:

  • Only install apps from trusted sources
  • Keep your device’s operating system updated
  • Lock your device with a PIN or password
  • Never leave it unprotected in public

Be careful what you click

Avoid visiting unfamiliar websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will automatically, and often subtly, compromise your computer.

If attachments or links in an email are unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click.

Install anti virus software

Only install an antivirus program from a known or trusted source and make sure to keep it up to date. There are plenty of anti-virus programs out there to choose from, so it’s best to do some research in order to choose one that’s right for you.

Back up, back up and back up again

Back up your data regularly – if you are a victim of a security incident, sometimes the only way to repair your computer is to erase and reinstall the system. Many cloud based programmes will do this automatically but if you store everything on a local device, regular back-ups are very important.

Some additional tips 

  • Use public wireless hot-spots wisely – make sure to connect to trusted networks and not share any personal data
  • Be wary of what you plug into your computer – flash drives and mobile devices sometimes may contain malware
  • Be careful of what you share on social media websites
  • Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity
  • Use a firewall – Mac and Windows computers have basic firewalls installed as part of their operating system that can help to protect your computer from external attacks
  • Bank or shop online only on trusted devices and networks and log out of these websites when you’ve completed your transactions.

So there you have it. A quick rundown of how to stay safe online. We hope that these tips helped. For more information on keeping your money safe, both online and in the long run, feel free to get in contact.