Staying Safe on the Internet – 5 Golden Rules
This article follows on from my introductory blog about keeping your technology secure. Good security starts with some fundamental rules and I felt it appropriate to summarise these in one place, before going on to make more specific recommendations. In the next 2 articles I have specific advice on securely surfing the Internet; and staying secure when you are on the move.
1. Take responsibility
Take responsibility for your own protection and don’t rely on technology alone. You need to be suspicious and alert to scams. You need to educate yourself and implement the advice that is given.
Evolve can help advise you on any technology related security subject. This is included in our customers support plan and we are available from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Our IT Support Helpdesk telephone number is 020 8939 8480 and you can email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Keep your devices updated
This applies to your PC but also to any device you use. You’ll need to make sure that system updates are downloaded and installed regularly. It also applies to applications, particularly Adobe Acrobat and Java. Also make sure that you are using the latest version of your preferred Internet browser.
Our customers computers are checked daily for system updates. So this rule applies more to your personal and mobile devices.
3. Keep your security software up to date
Ensuring that your anti-virus software is current is essential. Updates are released regularly and need to be applied regularly. On work computers your business IT support provider should be ensuring that this is happening. You need to make sure your mobile and personal devices are protected.
4. Use secure passwords
Managing passwords and keeping them secure is becoming an increasingly complex task because we now all have so many accounts. However, to be secure you need to ensure that your passwords are:
- changed regularly
- complex – a mixture of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters (exclamation mark, asterisk etc.)
- not using obvious personal information – such as a family member name, your date of birth or significant parts of your login name
- not dictionary words
- all different – if an attacker compromises one account then they will go looking for services where you may have used the same credentials.
- private to you only
Secure passwords can be created using mnemonics or memory tricks. For example, you can take a familiar phrase – an address, a song lyric – and use the first letter or number from each word. Apply upper case, lower case and special characters where they make sense to you.
It is also important to have a means of keeping track of what credentials you use. There are plenty of products out there that you can use to record and encrypt your passwords.
5. Call an expert if you suspect you have a problem
If you are in doubt, call your IT Support Helpdesk. Be as full and frank with your explanation as you can. Many of the ruses that we come across are extremely convincing so your business IT Support company shouldn’t judge you or make you feel stupid. Most of us techies want to help and make sure that your computer and others on the network are secure. In the event of an infection one of the most important things you can do is call early – don’t try to fix it yourself.
In my next article I have some more specific advice on how to stay safe when you are surfing the Internet.
If there is anything in this article that you would further help with then please do not hesitate to get in touch.