Being safe on the internet is now as important as locking your car doors or keeping your house keys in a secure place, in the 21st-century digital security is one of the biggest risks in our day to day lives and making the most of your safety can be a tricky thing to master!
As an ISO27001 accredited company, we pride ourselves on our knowledge of all things internet security. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for staying safe online and why it’s so important.
Why is internet security so important?
The majority of us now have everything, and we mean everything, stored online, in the cloud or on our phones, tablets and computers. Information from our cats' birthdays to our card number can be stored by a variety of secure sites such as online banking, shopping sites and our social media accounts. But with cyber and computer crime ever increasing, it’s important we remain diligent and do all we can to protect our personal information.
So what can we do?
1. Ensure you have a different password for every account you hold
This one may sound self explanatory but you’d be surprised as to how many of us have the same password for multiple accounts. Make sure each password you have is completely different, use a variety of characters, upper and lower case, with numbers and symbols mixed in there too. To eliminate the annoyance of remembering many different passwords, use a secure password manager such as Keeper, or LastPass - this will help protect you and your data.
2. Be diligent with emails and texts
Cyber criminals are clever, they can pose as your boss, your bank or your favorite online clothes shop. But there are little mistakes that can help you identify when they might not be exactly who they say they are. Look for language, does it seem off? Too formal or too relaxed perhaps? Trust your gut, if you don’t think your boss would address you with your surname, email them separately, typing their email in a fresh draft to confirm whether or not it was them. As for links or dodgy email addresses, hover over hyperlinks to reveal their true destination and look for mistakes in email addresses that you know an established company wouldn’t make.
3. Be responsible when using public access WiFi
An investigation by Kaspersky found that 70% of tablet owners and 53% of smartphone users will log onto public access WiFi spots. Public WiFi access is safe as long as you have an active security or anti-malware boundary and you are connecting to a trusted network.
Be cautious, treat all networks with suspicion. If you’re unsure of which WiFi access point is legitimate, ask a member of staff. When you’re logged on through the right access point, maybe try using a VPN, acting as a private tunnel between you and your business; your data will be encrypted and can help prevent cyber criminals from spying on your data.
4. Practice safe surfing
When browsing online, always make sure the website you’re on has an address that starts with ‘https’ not just ‘http’, and has a padlock in the URL field. This shows us that the website is secure and uses encryption to jumble your information so that it can’t be interpreted by prying eyes. Much like staying safe in your emails, watch out for little spelling errors in website URLs. If you want to double check the site is legitimate, in a separate tab manually enter the website address to access the correct landing page, if you’re suspicious don’t click!
5. Update and back up
Always remain cautious online, keep your device up-to-date with the latest software updates. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t even have to think about doing it, your device will let you know. And by taking preventative measures such as backing up your data, you’re protected if the worst was to happen.
If you’re protecting for more than one, you can introduce parental controls to stop your little ones from visiting specific sites.
The Friendly WiFi symbol was launched in 2014 in partnership with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and it’s standard is to offer a standard of public service which filters for illicit websites and webpages known by the Internet Watch Foundation. The recognisable symbol, as seen below, offers global public assurance that the WiFi you’re using is independently certified as filtered.
The Friendly WiFi symbol allows global operators of public and guest WiFi, such as us at WiFi SPARK to show that we prioritise giving our users a safe online environment.
As today’s Safer Internet Day, we hope that you take advantage of our tips and tricks to help you stay safe online.
If you’re looking for an upgrade to your public access WiFi that prioritises surfing security, read about the SPARK® Platform to see how we can help you put your customer first.