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How to keep yourself safe online

8th February 2016

There is a lot of controversy around using the internet, what we use it for and how safe it actually is?  Many are fearful and choose not to use the internet, some choose to use it for the basics such as surfing the net, other’s will go a little bit further and explore social media platforms, some even do their banking online and for many they use the internet for anything and everything.  Well, within reason!

But how safe is going online actually?  It can be very safe if we safe guard against the reality and possibility of internet fraud.   So if we put this into context we wouldn’t choose to jump out of a plane without a parachute and hope for the best (well I know I wouldn’t), we wouldn’t leave our doors unlocked at night and nor would we leave our valuable possessions on view in our cars.  So if we use these examples and consider the internet hopefully we can all identify that the internet is as safe as we make it.

There are many tricks of the trade when it comes to using the internet and like with all things some carry a higher risk than others but as we have established there is a risk with most activities we do in our day to day lives.  It’s how we go about these that help us to minimise those risks.   Unfortunately there are always going to be people that try to give the internet a bad name.  But it’s like anything else if we compare like for like.   Years ago for example it wasn’t uncommon to hear that someone’s car had been broken into, or that someone had been pick-pocketed on the train.

But how often do we hear about these things now? Not very often when we consider we are a part of a largely growing population.  Because times have changed and Cyber Crime is the new crime and we all need to be very aware of it. You don’t even need to be a computer whiz to participate in said crime because anyone can access your personal data, find out where you live, find out where you work, know how many kids you have and where they go to school, know what car you drive and when you are least likely to be at home.  But how do they know all of this? Unfortunately this is down to you as you haven’t put the necessary safe guards in place.

Like I said before we don’t leave our houses unlocked, of course we don’t.  We lock up and take the key with us.  We don’t leave it in the door for anyone to let themselves in.  And if you choose not to use internet security and choose not to use the internet safely unfortunately this is exactly what you are doing - opening your home and personal life up to the likes of anyone.    

So the point I am trying to make here is don’t put yourself at risk.  If you have children in the house make sure you are using child settings on your PC’s, Laptops, Tablets and mobile phones. Make sure you have internet security in place to stop any unwanted viruses, protect your passwords to stop people hacking into your accounts, and remember that if you bank online your bank will never contact you over the phone and ask for your card details, bank details, or pin number.  Always think along the lines of ‘if I haven’t instructed this then it shouldn’t be happening’.

Internet scams don’t just happen through computers, they can happen over the phone and these types of scam are really very clever if you fall for them. You receive a call and it works a bit like this;

  1. You answer the phone and the caller states they represent someone from say ‘Microsoft’ (I use this name only as an example) stating that they have found a virus on your computer and they need you to log on so that they can remote access and fix the issue.
  2. They then somehow manage to ascertain all of your bank details and boom; all of your money has gone.

Unfortunately as humans sometimes we are too trusting and if we don’t know enough about something we tend to trust those who appear to know more.  It’s a fact of life and it starts from the moment we are born.  So don’t just take my word for it, if you don’t know much about how to stay safe online then do some research and understand it a bit more so that you don’t become the next victim.  Here is a link to get you started.

For more information about staying safe on like click here