You can do so much online nowadays, but there are some people out there that can ruin the experience for you, or worse still, steal your private information or money. Follow these tips to use the internet safely:
- Keep software updated. Making sure software is up to date will protect you from any vulnerabilities in older versions of software and may even provide you with enhanced features for you to use. Please see the following information on how to update software on the most popular operating systems:
- Secure your user accounts using three random words, the longer the better. A strong password is especially important for your primary email account as you will likely use it as a “username” for lots of online services.
- Manage your passwords with password manager apps or save them in your web browser so you don’t forget your different passwords. More information on password managers and how they can help you can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) password manager article.
- Enable 2FA for all services which offer it. More information on 2FA and how to set it up for popular services can be found on the NCSC’s Two Factor Authentication article.
- Use an up to date browser. Old browsers will not have up to date features to protect you from unsafe websites and may have their own software vulnerabilities. You can check if your web browser is up to date by visiting the manufacturer’s website support pages, or by visiting www.updatemybrowser.org
- Check the address bar to make sure you are on the correct website you intended to visit. You can check if a website has anything malicious by using tools such as Google’s Safe Browsing Site Status checker.
- Consider more secure payment options, e.g. use a separate card not linked to your main bank account, or payment services like PayPal. Using a credit card can offer good consumer protection and will also mean that the retailer will not have your debit card details linked to your main bank account. Check your credit card provider’s terms and conditions for more information about consumer protection.
- Only use a secure and trusted device to access your e-banking. Never use shared computers to type in sensitive information on such as bank details, and avoid using free public Wi-Fi if you can.
- Be wary of emails from what might look like a reputable retailer that you have purchased from in the past. Don’t click on links or attachments in emails that you are not expecting. Read our Phishing (email) and Smishing (text message) guidance for more information on what to look out for.
- Send suspicious texts to 7726 and phishing emails to email@example.com
Top tips for staying secure online - NCSC.GOV.UK
Shopping online securely - NCSC.GOV.UK
Shop securely online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday | NI Cyber Security Centre