The internet and technology can be a wonderful thing – information at our fingertips, a quick and easy way to keep in contact with friends, shopping and banking online and so much more. But it also offers a way for scammers and criminals to access our data.
This year’s international Safer Internet Day is on Tuesday 7 February and to support the campaign, the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership is encouraging everyone to be aware of keeping safe whilst online by following this advice:
Strong passwords – The National Cyber Security Centre advises that the best way to make a password memorable and strong is to use three random words. Your most important accounts are your email, social media and online banking accounts, so it’s important to use strong, separate passwords for each of these. Adding numerals or capital letters will make passwords even stronger. Never share your passwords.
Online shopping – Ensure website addresses start with https:// and show the padlock symbol next to the address. This shows it’s secure.
Links and attachments – Don’t click on a link or open an attachment unless you are sure it is safe. Never click links to your bank – search for their website online or type in the direct web address. Also, don’t reply to scam emails to say ‘no’ as it alerts them that your email address is active.
Protection – Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. Also make sure the Firewall is turned on. Create a password for your router so no one else can access it without your consent. Always download the latest software and App updates as soon as they are available as they help to protect your devices from viruses and hackers.
Phone calls – Never give someone who has made an unsolicited phone call access to your computer. They may upload software to supposedly solve a problem but it will instead allow them access to your personal data.
Don’t be too friendly! – Don’t give away too much information on social media sites. Hide your details from people you don’t know on facebook and only accept ‘friends’ who you know.
Protect the young – Parents/guardians should advise children not to upload personal information and photos online, nor to send photos of a personal nature to anyone. They should never accept friendship requests from people they don’t know, should never arrange to meet up with someone they’ve ‘met’ online and should tell their parents if someone has asked them to do so. They should never share passwords. Children need to know that not everyone online is who they say they are and that they should tell their parents if they get a message that makes them feel uncomfortable. Webcams should be unplugged or covered when not in use.
The Think U Know website offers advice for all ages: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk
To find out more about Safer Internet Day visit: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2017