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10 Smart tips to stay safe online

Chose a secure password
When creating a password, make sure your password is at least 8 characters long. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters and at least one number as a minimum. Avoid easy to guess passwords like “password” as these are often the first guess for hackers. Never use the same password across multiple accounts e.g. email, bank account, social media etc.

Change passwords regularly
To make sure you are safe online, you should try to change your password every 60 days especially if you log into your accounts regularly on publically available computers.

Keep your operating system (OS) up to date
Hardly any code is perfect and sooner or later weaknesses will be identified. Security issues are the worst possible errors, as they may be exploited by malware to access and potentially damage your system and data.

Banking Information
Your bank will never as you to log into your account directly from an email. Often scammers will send official looking emails from banks asking you to log in. They do this, so they can collect your details and log in themselves. This is known as phishing, if you receive an email like this ignore it. If you are unsure phone your bank to check the email is genuine.

Keep your anti-virus software up to date
Installing anti-virus software will help reduce the risks of viruses being transferred onto your computer. Viruses or malware are commonly sent via junk email. Anti-virus software is a great first line defence in preventing this.

Never open attachments
If you receive an email from someone that you do not know, never open any attachments as they may contain viruses or other infections that could harm your computer. If you need to open an attachment from someone you know, scan it first with your anti-virus software.

Do not save your passwords
If you need to use a public computer to check an online account and are asked ‘do you want this computer to remember your password’ click no. By clicking yes it will save your password and keep you logged in allowing others to access your account.

Remember to log out
When you are finished using an online account, remember to log out. Some web browsers will remember that you are logged in and open your online account automatically when the site is visited next. This would allow anyone to access your account(s)

Have a second email account
Use a different email account from your personal/work one when entering competitions and signing up to newsletters. This will limit this will limit the amount of spam that your personal/work email account will receive.

Update your web browser
Often security updates are introduced to the latest web browsers preventing malicious attacks on your accounts. Google Chrome is often thought as one of the most secure and fastest web browsers around.