How to Keep Safe Online

This guide on ‘how to be secure on the internet’, provides information on all the risks involved and gives practical solutions on how to overcome them.

The full article is listed below but if your pushed for time view the ‘Golden Rules‘ section at the bottom of the page.

Know The Risks

Spam Email & Phishing Scams

  • Wilfully handing over your details (Theft & Identity theft).
  • Unwanted software installation (Viruses, Malware & Spyware).
  • Risks & Prevention: Read More >

Identity Theft

Viruses, Malware & Spyware

  • Unauthorised access to your computer and files.
  • Identity Theft.
  • Your personal files may be viewed, edited or deleted.
  • Your computer may stop functioning correctly, slow down or stop working altogether.
  • Risks & Prevention: Read More >

Shopping Online Safely

Social Networking

Password Security

 

Spam Email & Phishing Scams

The Risks

  • Identity Theft.
  • Viruses.

Their Methods

  • Phishing Scams (Phishing Emails (Spam), Fake Websites & Pop-up Windows).
  • Making a claim that there is an error with your computer or software.
  • Making an unbeatable, once-in-a-lifetime offer or other outrageous claim.
  • Posing as a business and asking you to update or confirm your details.
  • Posing as a friend and asking nicely for your details.
  • Asking for charity, help or guidance in the form of payment or personal details.
  • Telling you to upgrade or install new software and installing a virus instead.
  • Creating an exact copy of a website in order to gain access to your details.
  • An email link may look like the correct address but can actually take you to a fake site.
  • The email text is actually a picture so that email-filters do not recognise it as spam.

The Solution

  • Check that the email address is a logical name and that it uses the real websites address.For example: admin@caw.ac.ukRather than aaaaeeeiiiooouuu@thecollegeofanimalwelfare.com.ph or amazingoffer@caw.net
  • Banks & other businesses will never email you and ask you to update or confirm your details by email.If you are still unsure visit the website directly and not via the provided link.
  • If a business or ‘ friend ‘ asks you to follow a link it is good practice to manually search for the website rather than clicking on the provided link as this could take you to a fake website.
  • Pop-up Windows & Adverts: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Never install software that has been suggested to you via a pop-up window, advert or email. It will most likely be harmful software.

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Stopping Identity Theft

The Risks

  • Stealing your identity (name, address, contact details & passwords) and bank details.
  • Using your stolen identity for unlawful gains.

Their Methods

  • Phishing Scams (Phishing Emails (Spam), Fake Websites & Pop-up Windows).
  • Making an unbeatable, once-in-a-lifetime offer or other outrageous claim.
  • Posing as a business or friend and asking nicely for your details.

The Solution

  • If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Is the company or individual reputable?
  • Be wary of any offers from unsolicited or spam email.
  • Block unsolicited and spam emails regularly.
  • Use a modern web browser.(Modern web browsers will alert you to known phishing websites).
  • Check for Phishing Scams.

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Viruses, Malware & Spyware

The Risks

  • Computer Virus: Software that is harmful to your computer.
  • Malware: Software designed to secretly access your computer and your files.
  • Spyware: Software designed to monitor your activities and collect your details.

The Solution

  • Install the latest antivirus software (There are free ones available).
  • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date.
  • Perform regular virus-scans of your computer.
  • Only download or install from trusted companies.
  • Don’t open attachments or follow links from unsolicited emails.

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Shopping Online Safely

The Risks

  • Goods which are not delivered.
  • Goods which do not match their descriptions.
  • Misuse of your credit or debit card details.

The Solution

Use reputable sellers

  • Look for a physical address, contact details and company number.
  • Check Privacy and Returns policies.
  • Use a safe means of payment.
  • When buying from private individuals check their sellers ratings.

Secure Websites

  • Use a secure website to make payments and be wary of unfamiliar payment systems.
  • If a padlock appears in the address bar click it to check their certificate.

Scams

  • If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Buy from reputable companies.
  • Be wary of any offers from unsolicited or spam email.

Safeguard Your Password

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Social Networking Websites

The Risks

  • Identity Theft.
  • Online Predators.
  • Fraudulent Profile Pages and Messages.
  • Personal Attacks.
  • Theft of Artwork or Intellectual Property.
  • Causing Offense to Others

The Solution

  • Limit your personal profile information. This information can be used against you and could even lead to identity theft.
  • Keep your password to yourself so no one can pose as you.
  • Be wary of people you don’t know.
  • Don’t arrange to meet anyone you have met online.
  • Make sure all uploaded content (i.e images, video & text) are your own or you have permission to use it from the author.
  • The spoken word does not always carry the same meaning when written down. Take your time and think before posting your comments.
  • Be conscious of the fact that content you post online (i.e images, video & text) may be used against you.
  • Everything you post online (i.e images, video & text) is recorded. Even if you delete something, the chances are that it can be brought back. So be aware that posting content that is damaging to others can be traced back to you and that the offended party may wish to take legal action.

Terms

  • “Trolling”: Stating cynical or sarcastic remarks as a response to an innocent remark with the intention ot inflame or provoke others.
  • “Catfishing”: The practice of setting up a fictitious online profile, most often for the purpose of luring another into a fraudulent romantic relationship.
  • “Cyberbullying” / “Cyberstalking”: Intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.
  • “Happy Slapping”: An extreme form of bullying where physical assaults are recorded on electronic devices like phones, and then sent to others or posted online.
  • “Sexting”: The sending or receiving of sexually-explicit or sexually-suggestive images or video via phone or the Internet. “Revenge Porn” is the act of publically posting these images/videos.

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Safeguard Your Password

The Risks

  • Passwords are your main defence online.
  • Passwords keep all your personal, bank & business data safe.

Keeping Your Passwords Safe

  • Keep your passwords private. Never share your passwords with any third party.If you must give your password to a friend or colleague, do so temporarily and then change it afterwards.
  • Use different passwords (& usernames) for each application or log-in.
  • Change your password regularly (at least every six months).

Use a Secure / Strong Password

  • Do not use personal information as part of your password as this is easily guessed.
  • Try not to use real words as part of your password. Attackers can quickly use software that can combine multiple words and numbers from any word in the dictionary and in any language.
  • Mix different types of characters. Use uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers and where possible use special characters such as ‘ & , ! or % ‘.

Example: A Secure But Memorable Password

Use a ‘ Pass Phrase ‘ from a sentence, poem or song.

For example a chorus line from ‘ Bob Marley’s; Stir It Up ‘ =

  • ‘ Stir It Up, Little Darling Stir It up, Come On Baby ‘

This becomes ‘ siuldsiucob ‘.

Replace the letters with characters and numbers:

  • The letter ‘ I ‘ with the character ‘ ! ‘
  • The letter ‘ S ‘ with the character ‘ % ‘
  • The letter ‘ O ‘ with the number ‘ 0 ‘

This then becomes a complex but memorable password: ‘ %!uld%!uc0b ‘.

FYI: Please make up your own password and do not use this one.

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The Golden Rules for Internet Safety

The Main Risks & the Solutions to Overcome Them:

Email

Never trust any emails, even if they appear to come from your friends or businesses you deal with. Ask yourself, “Would they send me something like this”. If in doubt contact them via a different means.

Programs: Installs & Updates

If you’re surfing the internet or reading your emails and an alert pops-up asking you to install or update something, ignore it, or better still don’t even click on it, as it might have come from the internet rather than your computer.

Shopping Online

Would you trust a stranger with your credit card & pin? Shopping online comes down to trust. Ask yourself, “Is it a reputable or well known shop?”

At first sight, items may seem reasonable or even be a complete bargain. Make sure you look out for hidden postage / packaging costs before clicking on the ‘Purchase’ button.

Social Networking

Even though you might only allow your friends and family to view your profile, what if somebody gained access to their account? Answer: they would be able to view all your information! Limit your information as much as possible and never openly give out your address, phone number or bank details.

Everything you post online is recorded and even if you delete it the chances are, it is still saved somewhere and could be used against you in court.

Take your time and think about what you post online, it may cause offence to others.

Passwords

Never share them. Change them frequently. Make sure it can’t be guessed. Use different passwords for your social networking/email to things like bank accounts.

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