Always use a strong password - the longer and more complex it is, the more secure it will be.
Use a different password for each online account.
Set up your security answers - this is available for most social media sites, and allows for faster recovery of your account if you ever lose access.
If you have social media apps on your phone, be sure to password protect your device.
Be selective with friend requests. If you don’t know the person, don’t accept their request. It could be a fake account.
Click links with caution. Social media accounts are regularly hacked.
Look out for language or content that does not sound like something your friends would post.
Be careful about what you share. Don’t reveal sensitive personal information for example: home address, financial information, phone number, work address. The more you post the easier it is to have your identity stolen.
Try to avoid checking into locations, this feature allows people who can view your profile to view your recent or even actual location.
Become familiar with the privacy policies of the social media channels you use and customize your privacy settings to control who sees what.
Remember to log off when you’re done.
When using messaging services, be mindful that these services can use your devices video to show your surroundings. You do have to accept a video connection but be mindful about any information that maybe visible.
Communication services such as WhatsApp can access your contacts, it is advised to allow access to your contacts so you can verify who you are talking to.
Familiarise yourself with your bank’s security features and the process of logging suspicious activity
Banks use sophisticated security techniques, make sure you set up all the features
If you are new to online banking, it is important to explore the website and apps, this will help you to identify your banks online identity
If you use money transferring service such as Sage Pay or PayPal, don’t transfer money through ‘family and friends’ for service providers. This is only for occasions when you need to send money to friends or family. If you send money in this way to a business, you will not be covered by the providers terms and conditions
Regularly check for unusual activity on your statements. Even if an amount seems insignificant, double check your statements and contact your bank if something does not seem right.
When using an online website or app for purchasing goods or services, verify the payment gateway, double check the payment is secured, using the padlock in your browser and look for trusted logos. Never enter card details if you are unsure. Contact the business if you have any concerns
Double check if a business is legitimate, if you are unsure
Generally performing an internet search of the business known name, will provide information of a business’s legitimate activities. Government websites such as companies house, can be used to also search for companies
Read reviews of the business and product, consider sites like Trustpilot
Double check prices and postage costs. Be sure to check more than one site for validation of prices and postage of goods
Check where in the world an item is coming from. It is always good practice to double check the origin of your purchases
Make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover any online purchases.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) supplies you with a router that is responsible for connecting the devices in your home to the internet.
Here are a few tips on securing your router:
Change the default Wi-Fi password and SSID (Service Set Identifier). Your internet service provider (ISP) normally provides a sticker or card with connection details of your router, but you should change some of this information, as it can be easily manipulated by hackers, or even if someone comes in your house, the card or sticker is normally visible. Instructions would generally differ from router to router, so you are best checking with your ISP on how to do this. But you need to locate and log in to your routers admin access panel and change the settings from there.
Utilise a guest network - If you need to share your Wi-Fi for any reason, you should consider setting up a guest network, which you can normally do through your router’s admin panel. Again, these instructions may vary so consult with your ISP. This is useful as a guest network segments any interactions away from your home devices.
Disable WPS (Wi-Fi protected setup) - although a convenient set up process, it is the most vulnerable security feature on your router. Leaving this enabled can leave your home network open to attack from hackers. These settings will vary depending on your ISP, consult with them if you wish to disable it.
Do not leave your Wi-Fi an open network – if you change your Wi-Fi settings, do not leave the password empty, this would allow anyone to connect to your home network.
Check what devices are using your network – from your router’s admin page, you can see what devices are connected to your router. If you see anything suspicious you should block the device or change your security information as mentioned is the first tip.
Change the admin password on router – on your admin page, change your default password, but make a log of it in a secure place.
Privacy and Content filtering settings – ISP routers and commercial routers in most cases come equipped with the ability to filter websites and block certain websites or services. Consider blocking certain websites or even services. For more information or guidance contact your ISP.
Smart home devices are popping up everywhere, with one in every five homes having a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, which roughly equates to 20% of all homes, and even more are appearing.
The potential for these devices is incredible, for people with sight loss you can access the news, shopping lists and calendars just to name a few by voice. But there is a potential for them to be used for malicious intent.
Here are a few ideas on keeping your smart devices and associated accounts safe.
Password protect Amazon prime purchases from your device. On the Alexa echo devices, you can order items just by using your voice - nifty yes, but also annoying as anyone with access to your home would be able to order things you may not wish to receive. This can be disabled from the Alexa app or website.
Disable drop in feature – any of your contacts who may already own a smart speaker may have the ability to ‘drop in’ on your home device, this means they can listen in to conversations. But you can turn it off in your app settings, for Alexa, head to communication, contacts button, then select your ‘My Contact preferences’ the first option in the list and you can then turn off drop in.
Be careful which skills and apps you install – as smart speakers are always effectively listening, you should never enable a skill or app that you don’t need or that has not been recommended by a reliable source, as they can be created to listen and even prompt for information you would not normally share.
Use the mute button – if you are unsure, when you are not using a smart speaker, use the mute buttons which turn off the microphones on the device.