How to stay safe online Core

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Access to the internet has opened up a world of entertainment, opportunity and social interaction for everyone – but unfortunately, it’s also opened up new avenues for scammers and criminals, too.

The chances of being targeted by someone is thankfully relatively slim, and you can protect yourself and your family online even more by following some of these security tips we’ve put together.

Online safety 101

The internet gives us everything we could possibly need, right at our fingertips. From video-calling your family on the other side of the world, to having a fully stocked fridge without ever leaving your front door – the life-enhancing opportunities are almost endless. However, it’s important to keep our wits about us when we use the internet – scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and software advances mean it’s easy to be taken advantage of online.

You could have money stolen or your personal details and information could be leaked to dishonest individuals. But don’t worry – there are some simple (and free!) things you can do to help you surf the internet safely.

Bank safely

Online banking is a great way to have instant control over your finances. Not only can you check your bank balance at any time on any device, you can also freeze a lost or stolen card instantly or change your personal details without having to trudge to the bank.

However, you should be extra careful when dealing with money online. Here are some key things to remember:

Make sure you’re using the official app for your bank

You can tell these apart from fake apps as they’ll have a large number of reviews, and they’re often the first to appear when searching on the Apple or Google Play store.

Never give anyone the login details to your online banking account

For minors, it may be important that parents know their password. And those who are elderly or are cared for, your carers may need access to your bank account to assist you, but they shouldn’t be accessing it without your knowledge and presence. Login details should never be left on display, or shared. It’s super important that you keep those details to yourself, to keep both you and your money safe.

Shop safely

A good rule of thumb to remember when shopping online is if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Never purchase anything that’s offered to you in an unexpected email, or follow links that promise prizes, rewards or money. It’s likely that these are being used as a way to gain access to your personal details.

For additional protection, use a credit card for online purchases rather than a debit card. Credit cards often offer purchase protection, and if your purchase is £100 or more, the seller and the card company are equally responsible if anything goes wrong.

The best way to stay safe while shopping online is to stick to using online retailers with a good reputation, such as well-known supermarkets or high street shops you visit often. This makes sure that you’re only putting money in the hands of retailers that you trust. You can also check that the retailers website starts with “https” (and not just “http”) – this is a sign that the website is secure.

Did you know?

Phishing is when attackers send malicious emails designed to trick people into falling for a scam. Typically, the intent is to get users to reveal financial information, system credentials or other sensitive data.

Online scams

Scammers often use social networks like Facebook, or dating websites, to befriend you and gain your trust. Once this trust has been established, they’ll then start asking for money – often by sharing a sad, emotional story or asking for help in an emergency situation.

This is especially dangerous as this form of scamming involved willingly handing your money to someone else, and makes it virtually impossible to get that money back.

Similarly, hackers will often act as charities, lotteries or local governments, requesting your information to deposit prizes or funds into your account.

A simple rule of thumb: don’t ever give or receive money from anyone you don’t know and trust in person.

Did you know?

Catfishing is the process of luring someone into a relationship using a fictional online persona. This is often to extort the victim into handing over money or gifts.

Protecting passwords

Every account you hold that contains private information should have a unique password, completely different from your others. This makes sure that if your password is leaked online, it won’t allow hackers access to important information such as your personal details, financial information or intimate details about your life. Passwords are easy to reset with email access – so it’s much better to forget and reset your password than it is to make it too easy to access it.

To create a strong password, try this technique: use three random but memorable words for each password. This combination makes it virtually impossible for your password to be guessed or easily worked out by either those who know you, or strangers with ill intent. You can make these passwords even stronger by using a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Did you know?

If you want an easier way to remember your passwords across all your accounts, you can use a password manager. This software remembers your login details for you and logs you in with the click of a button – you just have to remember one secure login and it does the rest for you. Most will even generate strong passwords for you to use across your accounts.

Now you’re ready to surf safely! We hope this guide gave you a bit more confidence when using the internet, meaning you can use your Highland Broadband connection to its fullest.

Want to see if our full-fibre network is in your area? Use our availability checker here.