How to protect yourself online

How to protect yourself online

In our interconnected, always-on world, cybersecurity is a constant threat with cybercriminals and internet security becoming more sophisticated. But whether you’re using your technology in business or at home, whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, in this article we’re going to show you how to protect yourself online.

 How to protect yourself online – our top tips

We’ve gathered together the practical things you can do to protect your internet security, so below you’ll find topics such as:

  • Don’t recognise it, don’t action it
  • Update everything
  • Follow password best practices
  • Double your defences with two-factor authentication
  • Don’t use unsecured public Wi-Fi
  • Make backing up routine
  • Keep confidential information confidential
  • When in doubt, talk to an IT support provider

 Don’t recognise it, don’t action it

Virus, phishing and malware cyber attacks often come hidden as attachments to e-mails, or links in them, that you’re asked to open. The rule is simple: don’t open any e-mail or click on any link if you don’t know the sender. Trust your instincts, if looks strange it could compromise your internet and computer security.

 Update everything

Implement every update, fix and patch to devices, applications and networks, as they’re often created to improve your computer security. And they can usually be undertaken automatically, once you’ve set your technology up to do so.

 Follow password best practices

Don’t use any of the obvious choices (ie 12345678 or Password) or your kids’ names or birthday. The best password is one that you can remember but will be hard for others – and even malicious programs – to guess. A meaningful (to you) abbreviated sentence or phrase, with added symbols or numbers, is a sound choice. Alternatively, use a password manager to help you safely generate, store and share your passwords with colleagues. Finally, change your passwords regularly for enhanced security. 

 Double your defences with two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication means you verify your identity after you’ve logged in, usually via a username and password. Sometimes you’ll be asked to do this by entering a code sent by text to your phone or by email; other times you’ll have to answer a security question. 

 Don’t use unsecured public Wi-Fi

Using your Mac or Microsoft Windows laptop on unsecured public Wi-Fi could threaten your internet security. If you must use it, avoid entering compromising, private or personal information, like bank account details. Using a virtual private network (VPN) is a much safer bet as they encrypt data, making it much harder to intercept and read.

 Make backing up routine

Aim to back up your data regularly. Then if you do fall foul of malware cyber attack and not get your data back, you’re covered.

 Keep confidential information confidential

Be careful where, when and how you enter or share confidential information – particularly financial information. For example, before you purchase anything via a website, ensure the website’s URL starts with ‘https://.’ The ‘s’ indicates that your connection is encrypted and the website secure. 

Also think twice about saving your financial information on any website you buy from, even if you shop with them frequently – that’s where hackers strike. 

Cybercriminals can do a lot of damage with very little personal or financial information, so keep names, addresses and dates of birth, for example, confidential.

 Strengthen your weakest link

The chink in any cybersercurity armour is human error. So if you manage a business in London, educate your people in the computer security threats; if you’re concerned about home, educate your family in the security risks.

Everyone who regularly uses your Mac or Windows technology should know how to keep your IT, network, data, IP and confidential information cyber secure. 

 When in doubt, talk to an IT support provider

Staying safe online can seem daunting but don’t worry, ask a professional IT support provider. 

Our highly experienced cybersecurity experts at London’s go to managed IT support provider team, totality services, can help. A confidential, no-obligation chat to us about your IT and internet security requirements can make all the difference – that’s how we’ve earned two Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and 98% client retention rate.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.