As much as the world of digital rocks, the Internet unfortunately provides much room for crime and unsafe environments, particularly for children. With cyber crime on the rise, events like Safer Internet Day are paramount in raising awareness of online dangers.
From cyberbullying to social networking, Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues, and bring organisations together to discuss how we can provide safer online communities. We’re hot on cyber security at Createful; to mark such an important day, one of our Android developers, Stanton, is sharing his top eight tips for staying safe online.
1. Use a password manager
There are several products to help you securely store and access passwords, including LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane. Rather than trying to remember hundreds of passwords for all your online accounts (or worse – reusing the same password); you can use one master password to unlock your password manager. Your password manager will store all your passwords in one secure vault, and will auto-generate, autosave and auto-update secure passwords for every single account listed.
2. Check for ‘https’
Websites largely use one of two ‘protocols’ to transmit information. One is ‘http’, which means the information is visible to anyone as it travels through the net. The other is ‘https’, where the ‘s’ stands for “secure”. Whenever you navigate to a website, check the left of the url. If you don’t see ‘https’ (or maybe a padlock representing ‘https’) don’t trust it with any of your details.
3. Avoid giving out your personal details
Where possible, avoid inputting your personal details into websites, or giving them out over social media. When you absolutely have to provide personal information, do some research around whether the sites you’re using are to be trusted.
4. Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is an option on many of our online accounts, which many of us turn off for convenience. Think about that extra bit of hassle; it’s definitely worth it when compared to the prospect of someone booking a £5,000 holiday in your name.
5. Be wary of web-links and attachments in emails
A favourite entry point for hackers is to catch you with some very tempting spam email. We’ve all had them – emails that purportedly come “from” one of our friends or contacts. It is always worth double-checking, and veering on the side of caution.
6. Do research on your browser extensions
Browser extensions are great. They can provide a variety of different tools and features to make browsing the web a better experience. However, be aware that many extensions have the ability to read and alter information on websites you visit. Check out the author of the plugin you want to install.
7. Use incognito mode to prevent sites tracking you
Browsers will normally have a mode labelled something like ‘Incognito’, ‘Private browsing’, or similar. These modes aren’t just for hiding your browsing activity from others in your home or work environment. They can be a great tool for protecting you from the sites you visit, by making it impossible for them to see your data, and clearing any tracking cookies once you close the window.
8. Always sign out of accounts on computers you don’t own
Many online accounts now have a feature hidden away in settings, where you can check which other devices you are currently ‘signed in’ on. You don’t want someone to be able to access your details, just because you once signed into Facebook in an internet cafe, or on an old phone which has now been sold on Ebay.
So, there you have it, our Top 8 Tips for Staying Safe Online. They’re pretty simple things to do, but they’re often forgotten about. To keep up to date with Safer Internet Day, you can follow updates and news at #SID2018 or #SaferInternetDay. Do you have your own ways of upping your safety online? We’d love to here them – join the conversation on Twitter.