Make sure you stay alert to the dangers that lurk on the Internet. Here are our top ten safety tips:
- Keep your personal information safe
Potential employers will need to know about your skills and professional background and how to get in touch with you but be careful about sharing personal information. You wouldn’t hand your personal information out to strangers. so don’t hand it out to millions of people online.
- Keep your privacy settings on
Marketers love to know all about you and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and use of social media, so make sure you take charge of your information. Web browsers and mobile operating systems have settings to protect your privacy online. Major websites like Facebook also have privacy-enhancing settings available.. Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards and keep them switched on.
- Practice safe browsing
Avoid dangerous sites online. Cybercriminals use content as bait and they know people may be lured in by tempting offers. One careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Make sure your Internet connection is secure
When you go online in a public place, for example by using a public Wi-Fi connection, you have no direct control over its security. Corporate cybersecurity experts worry about “endpoints” – the places where private networks connect to the outside world. Make sure your device is secure and you’re connected to a secure Wi-Fi network before providing information like your bank account number.
- Be careful what you download
Cybercriminals may try to trick you into downloading malware programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. Malware can be disguised as an anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. Don’t download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.
- Choose strong passwords
Passwords are potential weak spots. People tend to choose things that are easy to remember, like “password” or “Abcdef”), but these are also easy for cyber thieves to guess. Select strong passwords that are harder to decode. Password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don’t forget them.
- Only buy online from secure sites
When you buy online, you provide payment information, which is what cybercriminals are eager to get their hands on. Only supply this information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can identify secure sites by looking for an address that starts with https: (the S stands for secure) rather than simply http: They may also be marked by a padlock icon next to the address bar.
- Be careful what you post
The internet does not have a delete key! Any comment or image you post online may stay online forever because removing the original (say, from Twitter) does not remove any copies that people have made. There is no way for you to “take back” a remark you wish you hadn’t made or get rid of an embarrassing selfie you took at a party. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see.
- Be careful who you meet online
People you meet online are not always who they claim to be. Indeed, they may not even be real. Fake social media profiles are a popular way for hackers to entice unwary web users and pick their pockets. Be as cautious and sensible in your online social life as you are in your in-person social life.
- Keep your antivirus program up to date
Internet security software cannot protect against every threat but it will detect and remove most malware – although you should make sure it’s up to date. Be sure to stay current with your operating system’s updates and the updates to applications you use. They provide a vital layer of security.
You can read more about internet safety at the UK Safer Internet Centre.