Online security is something we all know is important, but most of us simply don’t know where to start when it comes to protecting ourselves online. Take a few minutes to run through the following steps, then you'll have the peace of mind that you're just a little safer online:

  1. Have different passwords for different things. This is the best way to protect your security across a range of sites and platforms. Of course, it's a nightmare keeping track of lots of different passwords, which is why many of us stick to the same one across many sites – this is a big security no-no. Make it simpler but safer by having individual passwords and using a password manager to keep all of your passwords in one secure place.  
  2. Choose apps very carefully. Apps on your phone in particular request permission to do certain things, and not all are as innocent as they seem. Before installing, check what the app is asking permission to do.
  3. Keep your DOB a secret. Your date of birth, along with your phone number, is one of the main pieces of information that companies use to verify you and check your identity. For example, when you call up your bank, the operator may ask you a series of security questions which may include your DOB, address and phone number. This is why it's important to keep this essential info off your social media and other visible online profiles.
  4. Update your social media privacy settings. It’s amazing how many people forget to do this, they are surprised when they discover that all of their holiday photos are visible to everyone, not just their friends. Companies and third parties can access and use your info too, if you don’t regularly check, change and update your privacy settings on sites like Facebook.
  5. Encrypt your connections. Many online platforms such as Facebook and Gmail offer encrypted connections as standard, which means that information is encoded so that it is only intelligible to those given access to read it. You can encrypt all of your connections with a simple plug-in for your browser.  
  6. Keep security software updated. Updates can be very annoying, particularly when they slow down your internet or force you to restart your device when you're in the middle of something. However, keeping antivirus software, applications and security programs updated with their very latest versions are essential to protect your PC, laptop or phone from malicious attacks, hackers and viruses.
  7. Turn Wi-Fi and GPS off when not in use. These are both ways that both your location and your personal information can be accessed and made available to everyone from your mobile provider to app developers and perhaps even identity fraudsters.
  8. Consider blocking cookies. Most of us simply click ‘I agree’ when the notice about cookies pops up on a website, but perhaps we should be saying no instead. By blocking cookies, you can still access websites, but they will have a harder time remembering your usernames and passwords.

Image credit: Wiki Commons