Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - 9:08 am

Online Security and Privacy

3 min read

In 2011 over 30% of the world’s population are active internet users. That is a staggering 2 billion plus people who have access to and a working knowledge of the World Wide Web.

This online population is continually growing and how can it not; it seems that you can do absolutely anything and everything on the web these days. You can shop online, download music, download films, do business online, buy and sell shares, play the lottery online, communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time; you can even live in a virtual online world! The possibilities of online activities are endless and they are developing new ideas every day.

So, with all of these millions and billions of people online all day every day, how can we make sure that we can still enjoy all of the benefits of the internet and feel safe while we are at it?

We need to protect ourselves against online dangers such as identity theft.

Identity theft is when your personal and confidential information is used for financial or other gain without your knowledge or consent. It can take any number of forms, from credit card details being used to make online transactions to people ‘stealing’ your online identity and impersonating you on social networks or through your email account.

Here are 5 simple tips to help you to keep your identity safe online and allow you to continue using the internet without feeling vulnerable;

1. Use Strong Passwords and Keep them SAFE!

  • Make sure any password you create is at least 8 characters in length with a combination of letters (both lower and upper case), numbers and symbols. The stronger and more complex your password is, the harder it is to crack. But make sure you can remember it yourself!

  • Change your passwords regularly and never, ever write your password down.

  • Don’t tell anyone your passwords, not even your friends; it could be used to get into your emails or other personal online services.

2. Only use SECURE websites.

Online transactions are so common these days and we need to make sure we are savvy and know which websites we can trust. The more secure website URL’s start with ‘https’ as opposed to ‘http’ which is no quite as secure. E.g. . Also, if a padlock appears in the browser, this is another good sign that indicates the site is secure.

3. Think before you post.

Always be careful with what you post online in public forums and on social networking sites, never post information that is personally identifiable. Always set your online profiles to private and never tweet as every little piece of information that you put out there allows identity thieves to build a more detailed and accurate picture of you.

4. Keep an eye on your Bank accounts.

If you are making online transactions including online banking then always keep an eye on your bank balance. Watch for any small, seemingly insignificant amounts being withdrawn inexplicably and always report any suspicious behaviour to your bank immediately.

5. Watch out for Phishing.

Phishing is a type of online scam, it refers to emails being sent out fraudulently, tricking people into giving over their personal details. They can often masquerade themselves as banks. Make sure that you never reply or provide details to an email from a bank asking you for private information. The actual banks will never send emails out with these types of requests.

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