If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that cyber-security and internet safety are pretty hot topics right now.

It’s easy to think of these as large-scale issues to be handled by the authorities but there are plenty of  precautions that we as individuals can take.

So are you doing everything you can to protect your personal information in an increasingly digital culture?

1) Phishing/pharming i.e. hoax emails

Phishing is designed to trick you into sending personal info like bank details and logins over email.

These emails aren’t always obvious to spot and often claim to come from a trusted source e.g. your bank.

Along similar lines, hackers use pharming to redirect you to fake websites e.g. you might think you’re logging onto your Internet banking website.


How to avoid:

  • Type links into your browser yourself instead of clicking within the email.
  • Check your bank’s website or contact them directly instead.
  • Check the website you’re on – secure websites (e.g. internet banking sites) use ‘HTTPS’ in the web address of their payment pages, not ‘HTTP’.
  • Secure sites also have a padlock icon or a green shading around the site’s mini-icon in the address bar.

2) Viruses, adware, spyware & malware

Adware, spyware and malware are pieces of software that secretly install themselves onto your device when you’re online, leading to things like annoying pop-ups, damaged computers and stolen passwords.

Viruses are programmes that can infect computers and spread.


How to avoid:

  • Think before you click – adware, spyware and malware infect your computer when you open spam emails, click on popups, visit dodgy websites or download certain software.
  • Install anti-virus software – reputable of course!

3) Hackers

Hackers use software that can easily crack your password…especially if it’s weak.


How to avoid:

  • Use a strong password that is at least eight characters long and a mixture of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers.
  • Make sure your password isn’t something other people know e.g. pet’s name.

4) Pop-ups

Pop-ups want you to click on them. Most are harmless but some are more sinister in nature.


How to avoid:

  • Don’t click on them (obviously).
  • Turn on the pop-up blocker settings in your browser preferences.

5) Unsecured Wi-Fi

Ever heard of wardriving? This is when people search for and illegally connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, either to download all sorts of things for free or to commit criminal acts undetected.


How to avoid:

  • Secure your network with Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) – available on all recent Wi-Fi devices.
  • Turn off your internet connection when you’re not using it.

6) Software & app updates

Cyber criminals look for weaknesses in software to attack your devices and potentially steal your identity.

Software and app updates are designed to fix these weaknesses to keep your devices secure. and installing them as soon as possible will keep your devices secure.


How to avoid:

  • Turn on automatic software updates on your devices.


How to avoid:

  • Protect data that is really important to you, such as photos and key documents, by backing it up to an external hard drive or cloud-based storage system.

Over to you:

More tips to add to our list? Let us know here or get in touch through Twitter 🙂

The Oodles Team x