Previously, Tony covered the online safety for web addresses and passwords. These are important parts of online safety. There are more safety tips today because there are many issues with technology and being safe. I know nothing is ever easy. Here’s some advice from Tony McGovern.

Terms and conditions

When you install any App or click any website, you may see “Terms and Conditions”. Do you read that long script or do you scroll to the bottom and hit accept? I know what I do. Did you know you can alter what cookies you give access to?

Consider checking privacy agreements on Apps on your devices. Why not alter some of the options to give you more privacy? That might be allowing or limiting the camera or mic for certain Apps.

When loading new websites you don’t need to accept all cookies. You can select what access/information the website gets. It’s up to you if you choose to give it only the required cookies it needs to allow you access or you can give it an all access pass.

For mobile devices, and occasionally websites, when joining new services always ensure you cannot scroll any further. Make sure you see everything. Some services terms and conditions may be off screen or you may not be able to scroll further down on the page. This misleads users into thinking there is no more information.

Sometimes scrolling to the side of a page (on mobile devices) may show more detail about services. Or you might find free services only last 2 days and subscription thereafter. This is definitely something worth keeping an eye on.

Recap: terms & conditions
  • Consider checking privacy agreements on Apps on your devices.
  • When loading new websites, alter cookie access/information.
  • If joining new services, check out all terms and conditions.
Devices & upgrades

Your devices are essential for using the internet. It is important to keep your devices and Apps updated. Devices can be computers, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. This may seem irrelevant and annoying but updates make devices more secure by improving/fixing usability and security flaws which may have existed in previous versions. Those flaws are the cracks in the systems hackers can exploit.

The same goes for Apps. These updates might not seem to do much. However, updates go a long way in keeping your device, information and details safe.

Recap: devices & upgrades
  • Keep your devices and Apps updated (computer, laptop, tablet, mobile). Updates make your devices more secure by improving/fixing usability and security flaws that may have existed in previous versions.
  • Upgrades are important as they prevent viruses or exploitation of old security flaws.
Viruses

Do you have online anti-virus protection? There are free Apps for this or you can decide to pay. Should you decide to use anti-virus software, this can block viruses being downloaded and theft of sensitive data or causing mayhem.

The anti-virus can make you aware of dodgy websites and regularly ensure your computer/device is safe. Anti-virus software is essential when using the internet as this is were most risks come from. Run your virus checker frequently to ensure your devices are secure.

No doubt you will be downloading content, download from trusted sources. If receiving emails with attachments, viruses can use attachments to piggyback onto your device. Do perform virus scans on attachments to protect yourself and your devices.

Wi-fi

Who doesn’t love free Wi-fi? Save your mobile internet. Wi-fi connections are usually better and faster which is what you want while relaxing at the local coffee shop or waiting at the airport. Does this sound too good to be true?

It is!

Free Wi-fi can be used by hackers to gain access to your device. When using an open wi-fi network, it can be used by anyone. Did you know hackers on these unsecure networks can snoop into your email, your internet history and steal your passwords and other sensitive information?

Now you do. Be wary of free and unsecure wi-fi. By unsecure, I mean wi-fi without password access.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Why not consider using a VPN (virtual private network) when using the internet? It is a more secure and provides encryption for you to access online services whilst you remain anonymous and protected. VPNs keep your data secure and hey prevent websites gathering large amount of data about you: from your web and App history, your location, personal data, browser type and device type.

Definitely use a VPN when working remotely to protect your organisations data.

Online payments

Do you like to shop online? Or pay for flights or conferences? Maybe you use delivery Apps. Here we look at online payments.

As a user, it is prudent to pay using secure online payment services which offer encryption of your details and are widely accepted and used. One example is of a secure online payment service is PayPal.

By using Paypal for online payment, you are not entering your credit card details to a website. Using Paypal lowers risk when making online payments online. Third party Apps like PayPal can prevent anyone getting access to the payment details from seeing your bank information. Instead hackers will see your email address and encrypted data, no bank details are displayed. This provides an extra layer of security.

Recap: online payments
  • Pay with secure encrypted payment services such as PayPal.
  • If entering payment details, ensure the web address is https (secure).
General recap
  • Use online anti-virus (AV) protection. There are free Apps for this. AV protection blocks virus downloads and information theft.
  • Only download from trusted sources, ensure secure sites.
  • Use private Wi-fi or internet when possible as free public Wi-fi can be exploited. 
  • Parental controls can be used to limit how much time is spent online and which websites can be viewed.
  • Schools and organisations can limit which content is available to user on their Wi-fi and Devices. 
  • VPNs should be considered, this is secure and encrypted access to online services whilst keeping you and your devices anonymous and protected. 

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