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Staying safe online

Tuesday 3rd June 2014 at 14:06
by James Salloway

A lot of media over the past few days has been ranting and raving about the amount of cyber attacks “due to hit” in the next couple of weeks such as “Crypto Locker”. Some of these reports seem to be a bit over-hyped by the media, but the actual truth is that you could get hit at any time; not just in 2 weeks time as the media are claiming. So here are our top 7 tips on how to stay safe online:

1. NEVER open emails from senders you do not recognise, particularly those with links

2. If you get an email with an attachment ending in .exe or .zip…. do not open it!

3. Emails from companies saying that they are:-
- Couriers
- HMRC
- Court orders
- Vodafone SMS service
- Fax
- Post office

And have an attachment included are most likely cons or viruses! Especially if they end in .exe or .zip

4. Attacks are most likely going to focus on trying to gain your bank details. Your bank or PayPal will NEVER email you and ask you to click a link, fill out a form or ask you to disclose any personal information directly from an email. Always make sure that you only ever log into your bank via the official website making doubly sure that the link (web address) is correct. i.e www.hsbc.co.uk and not to any other website that may have a fake bank login screen hidden within it.

5. Anti Virus - No matter what type of computer you are using ensure you have AntiVirus installed and it is up to date. It is a common myth that Apple’s operating systems (Macs) are not affected by viruses. All computers are vulnerable if not adequately protected.

6. Pay for AntiVirus software if you can, and buy it from a reputable company. Free AntiVirus software is okay, but paid for anti-virus protection can offer a better level of protection. The companies we would recommend are:-

  • Symantec (Norton)
  • McAfee
  • Panda Security

7. Always make sure that there is a padlock icon in your toolbar when paying online or using Internet Banking. Look for a lock icon by the web address, and click on it to see if it says there is a valid secure certificate

 

We hope that helps! Stay safe online!