Sophie Herrington, Digital Campaign Manager atOptimising, an Internet and Website Marketing agency based in Melbourne has produced these Internet Safety Tips. .
The Internet is one of the most powerful and useful tools of our era, unfortunately it can also be unsafe at times. Here are some simple tips to increase your Internet awareness and safety, in order to keep your personal information private and make sure you have an enjoyable experience online.
- Use secure passwords: Try not to use an easy password like your birthday, postcode or middle name. Make sure you make a password which meets the following criteria:
o Eight or more characters
o Numbers AND letters
o A special character (e.g $, &, @ )
o Upper and lower case
o No personal information
It is also important to avoid reusing passwords and to keep them in a safe place such as an external flash drive that you keep with you or a well-known online password manager.
- Be aware of “Phishing”: This is when you are sent emails or come across sites that seem to be legitimate. They will usually ask you to pay for something by confirming a range of different personal information including: addresses, bank details, passwords, credit card details or birthdates. The most common targets for phishing scams are usually big banks, government organisations or Paypal/Ebay. Before adding or confirming any details, contact the company directly and make sure the email/site is real.
- Keep track of accounts after an online purchase: After using a credit card for online shopping be sure to keep an eye on any outgoings that may be suspicious. You should be purchasing online only from sites which have SSL (secure socket layer), you can identify these sites as they will have https:// instead of http:// in the URL and usually a padlock in either the URL or the status bar at the bottom of your browser.
- Be aware of email attachments: Avoid opening any attachments and links in emails from unknown senders; these may contain viruses or malware. Sometimes however your friend’s emails can get hacked and send out viruses; go with your gut, if it doesn’t seem like something a friend would send then do not open it.
- Be wary of free programs: Make sure you consider how legitimate a free software download is. It is best to avoid downloading programs unless it is from a reputable site.
- Update your virus software regularly: Choose a reputable brand and make sure you perform updates as they advise.
- Think before you share: On social media it is common to include and share lots of information on your profile. Make sure everything on your profile is appropriate as if ANYONE in the world could see it.
- Look out for Fraud: Keep the mindset that anything that seems “too good to be true” online usually is. Use common sense and don’t click on any pop-ups or websites offering you money or free products. It is better to be safe than sorry.