The Internet of Things (IoT) is a truly massive place – there’s around 1.2 billion different websites, more than 3.5 billion users, and a whopping estimated 28 billion devices connected! Unfortunately, not everybody has the best intentions with this incredible resource, and it’s vital you take precautions and stay vigilant when browsing. With this in mind, we’ve collected a few tips to help you keep your devices secure and your data safe online.
Keep up to date. Make sure your device is protected with Antivirus and Antimalware software, and make sure your Operating System, Browser and any Security software are all set to update automatically, as the manufacturers regularly release patches to fix vulnerabilities. There’s a variety of free Antivirus programs available for both Windows and Mac, and any popular one will help protect your device.
Check your phone! Mobiles devices are equally susceptible to exploit by malicious parties. Android phones should have some form of Antivirus software installed, and you should consider the permissions requested by any App very carefully before allowing them.
Guard your information. Not all websites are safe, and most browsers will indicate if a website is encrypted, which means it’s safe to enter your personal information into. You can check this in the website address: if it’s got “https” at the start, you’re probably good to go. You should never try and buy anything from a site if it doesn’t say it’s encrypted.
If you do need to enter personal information, consider what data you’d expect to give. Phishing scams often look a lot like legitimate websites, but there are certain personal and financial details you’ll never be asked to enter online.
If you click a link, make sure it’s actually taken you to the page you expected. A link in a fraudulent email meant to look like it’s from you bank could take you to a perfect clone of the site. If in doubt, navigate to the website through your search engine instead.
Don’t download anything when you’re not 100% sure the source is safe. If you’re not familiar with the sender of an email attachment, or a movie-download website seems somehow dodgy, it might be best to leave it alone. If you do download something that looks suspicious, delete it immediately without opening it.
Use a strong password. Remember: the more unique it is, the stronger a barrier it is to people trying to steal your details. If possible, have different ones for different sites.
Keep regular backups of all your data, in case your computer is damaged or compromised by ransomware.
Finally, be savvy! Don’t share anything online that you wouldn’t be happy to say to a stranger on the street. Check you’re happy with the privacy settings on all your Social Media accounts, and don’t leave any shared computer without logging out of any accounts first. Trust your instincts and keep your wits about you!
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