Think Before You Click

Cyber crime is on the increase and because it takes place in many forms, can be hard to keep on top of, but how can you keep yourself safe online?

A vast majority of us spend a lot of time online, whether it’s for our work, social life, for research or shopping. But how many of us know how secure our information is?

Take social media. Many profiles on Facebook are open, allowing someone to search personal details like date of birth, where you live, even where you work, making it easy for you to be targeted, stealing your identity or becoming the victim of cyber bullying and cloning. Don’t accept a friend request from someone you don’t know and keep your account locked down to just friends rather than public, to limit who your posts are seen by.

Think about what you are posting on sites. Many employers are looking at potential candidates’ social media before they are interviewed and pictures of you drunk, taking drugs or unacceptable behaviour could affect your potential career in the future.

Unfortunately romance or dating scams are happening too often. Online dating is growing in popularity and there are a lot of vulnerable people who are looking to meet someone special and are happy to send money to a potential date to help them fix their car, or even pay for a flight so they can come and see them. They will ask lots of questions about you but be vague about themselves. Regrettably there is no intention to meet up, they just want the money and once it has been transferred, they disappear. Never give out your bank details to someone you have met online, no matter how believable their story is.

If you are shopping online, use sites with a padlock on the URL bar at the top of the page. Sites that begin with https:// are also secure. Keep receipts and regularly check your bank records.

Banks and financial institutions will never cold call or email you asking for your personal account information or passwords, so never give these out. If in doubt tell them you will ring back when it is convenient to you and don’t be afraid of putting the phone down or saying no thanks.

If you are going on a bike ride and using Strava, make sure your journey is private. Your account can easily be tracked and you might find your expensive bike has been stolen as the details of your ride has shown where you live and where you’ve returned to.

Finally, remember PUPS. Passwords – remember the password rule, don’t share it and change it often. Updates – always keep your devices updated with manufacture only ones and back up your data. Protection – think before you click, is it appropriate? Security – make sure you have an up to date anti-virus protection on your devises and look at links closely before you click on them.

An online presence is for life – not just for Christmas.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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