Top 10 Tips For Staying Safe Online


The internet can be safe and secure if used correctly – but there is a potential risk of picking up a ‘computer virus’ that can make your computer ‘sluggish’, damage your computer, or even steal personal information if you don’t follow these basic 10 guidelines.

 1) Make sure a good antivirus program is installed. Try to run a scan once every couple of weeks on your own personal computer at home to check for any problems. 

 2) Update regularly. Make sure the your Windows Updates are set to automatic. Microsoft releases an update the second Tuesday of every month with fixes and patches to security issues within Windows. Although this is good it also notifies the "bad guys" that there is a security issue with Windows and gives them a chance to exploit it. If your system has loaded the update your are safe. Also when for example the Flash Player or other third party software wants to be updated then it is very good idea to do it for the same reasons.

3) Visiting websites. Stick to well-known and established websites (BBC, Amazon, government websites). Your virus software should warn about dangerous websites.  

Passwords for emails. It is VITAL the your passwords should be difficult to guess. Especially your email password. If a "bad guy" gets control of your email password he will change the password  which will lock you out. He is then free to visit common sites like eBay, Amazon etc. and simply tell the site that you have forgotten your password. Theses sites will then send either the password or will allow password reset thus giving him access to all these sites.    So try to include characters like ‘!’, ‘$’, ‘*’ or ‘%’ in the password. Personal info should NOT be included in your password. A password cracking program try every word in the Oxford English Dictionary, every place name, every persons name and every birth date within 1- to 12 seconds. So a password like john12  would only take minutes crack. Try something harder like j0Hn12#£. I know it's a pain to remember but definitely worth it.

Change your password regularly: It is a good idea to change your password every couple of months to be safe – although this isn’t vital to stay safe, it’s just advisable. Use different passwords on different sites.

Email. Do not click on links in emails from people that you do not know. Ignore and delete emails that request your financial information.

Spam emails. When you sign up to services online your personal information may be used by others to send you emails you don’t want. Don’t give banking details or usernames to anyone via email. You may even receive emails claiming to be from your bank, but again do not give your details.

Buying online. If you do use the internet to buy items, then make sure the website’s payment section has a ‘https’ web address (look at the top of the browser for this) This shows that it is a secure payment system and your private information will be encrypted before it leaves the webs site.

Backup Regularly. Backup Regularly. You may want to keep important documents saved onto a USB stick to ensure your work is safe if your computer becomes infected, stops working or is stolen. Make sure you have several backups and ensure that they are not kept next to the computer because a burglar will take them as well !!

Don’t panic! If your computer gets a virus, then it CAN usually be removed.  If worst comes to worst, the computer can be restored to its original settings.  Call me on 07930 105042.

Wednesday the 28th. John Watson Computer Services - 07930 105042