This week the world came together to celebrate Safer Internet Day. Personal safety rules still apply online; people often forget that and feel that they are somewhat safe sat behind a keyboard.

However, online criminals can attack in two way; random attacks that are usually motivated for financial reasons and then there is the personal attacks. People can hide behind an anonymous user name and attack somebody they know or target a stranger. Often known as ‘cyberbullying’, this has become more and more common in recent years.

Either way, there are steps you can take to protect yourself whilst using the internet. Below, we share some of our top tips.

Safer Internet Day 2019

Safer Internet Day is noted each year on February 5th. The aim is to promote the positives of digital technology when used in a safe way. The campaign primarily targets young people, but safety tips still apply to adults.

Coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre, each February, hundreds of companies get involved in the campaign and help promote safe and responsible use of the internet. Although the day was started in the UK, it is now celebrated worldwide with the help of the European Commission.

A specific theme is picked each year, but in general, the UK Safer Internet Centre calls on internet users, parents, teachers, business owners and policymakers to join in the conversation and get involved. Everyone can come together to make the internet a safer place. That message is reflected in this year’s theme; together for a better internet.

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You can join in the conversation online by using #SaferInternetDay2019

10 Tips for Staying Safe Online

How are you celebrating Safer Internet Day? Why not refresh your memory and read our top 10 tips for staying safe online.

  1. Create Complex Passwords – don’t be tempted to use obvious passwords. Yes, they’re easy to remember, but they’re also easy for would-be criminals to guess or use a piece of software to crack in no time. Avoid words with personal meaning and use a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers.
  2. Use a VPN – consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you tend to use public Wi-Fi a lot. A VPN will encrypt what you are doing whilst using a public network, stopping any hackers in their tracks.
  3. Use a Firewall – a firewall is a basic must-have on your computer. A firewall is a network security system that will monitor and control traffic both in and out of your network, based on predetermined controls; helping filter out unsafe websites, messages and downloads.
  4. Be Link Wary – another internet basic; be savvy with what you click on. One of the most common ways to get a virus is to click on untrustworthy links, therefore opening a gateway for a virus.
  5. Be Selective with What You Share – if you’re a social media user, then be careful with what information you share with strangers. Check your privacy settings on your accounts and never post information that you would only tell your nearest and dearest; even if you think you are doing so anonymously, on a forum or other website.
  6. Protect Your Mobile – even mobile phones and other gadgets can be a target for criminals now. Be careful clicking on links sent via message or installing dodgy apps. One of the most common ways to comprise the safety of your smartphone is by ‘jailbreaking’ it – this opens you up to the risk of attack and will also cancel the warranty on your device.
  7. Look for The Padlock – when shopping online, use websites that display a padlock in the top left corner near the URL. This indicates that the website uses SSL protocol, a process that ensures that transferred data is encrypted. This is particularly important when you’re shopping and entering personal information on websites.
  8. Update! – ensure that you keep anti-virus software up to date. You should also keep your system up to date with updates, both on your computer and other devices.
  9. Be Scam Aware – get smart when it comes to learning how to recognise a scam. They continually change and you should check the news for the latest schemes. To get you started, here is a useful guide to some of the most common scams.
  10. Be Conscious of What You’re Doing – finally, our last bit of advice is just to be conscious of what you are doing online. Use the internet with caution and always think carefully about what you are doing.

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Get in Touch

If you have any questions related to personal safety, lone working and staying safe, especially at work then get in touch with us using our contact page.

You can also reach us on Twitter @First2HelpYou.