STAY SAFE ON THE WEB WITH THESE INTERNET BEST PRACTICES
The internet can be a marvellous place, where you can virtually roam the streets of Venice (using Google Earth), track down and order obscure merch from across the globe, or watch cat videos until your heart’s content.
Despite its many benefits, the internet can also be a daunting landscape if you’re not prepared, with gangs of hackers, scammers, and fraudsters looking to get their hands on all your personal data and details. Luckily, here are some safeguards you can put in place to keep you and your family safe online.
Your First Line of Defence
A password is your first line of defense against hackers. The difference between weak and strong passwords is like a plastic padlock that could be opened by setting the dial to ‘0000’ versus a moat with some crocodiles thrown in. While they might be easy to remember, simple passwords will make you an easy target for hackers.
For example, if you just used the word ‘password’ as your login, a hacker could get this within milliseconds. While if you used a password manager (more on this later) to create a 15-digit series of random upper, and lowercase letters and symbols it could take a hacker so many years to hack your password, that by then, your data would be somewhat of an antique and better suited to a museum!
Tip: A simple way to create a secure password is by stringing together a sentence using 4 or more words. For example, mydogsnameisdingo, then adding a few random numbers, symbols and capitalisations – such as mydogsnameisDingo89%.
Enlisting a Password Manager
Reusing the exact same password on multiple websites and platforms can leave you vulnerable to cybercriminals. If hackers got hold of one of your passwords – they could then gain access to your other accounts, such as your email, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, or even your bank account.
Experts now recommend no longer memorising your passwords, but instead, start using a password manager. This handy tool is like having a virtual safe and lets you create much more secure passwords. You only need to remember one password to access all others. Most password managers also have browser plugins, which automatically fill in your login details – making accessing your accounts a breeze.
Password managers encrypt your data, so even if a hacker gained access to it, all they’d see is a pile of scrambled passwords, keeping your individual passwords safe. Although most come at a monthly cost, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that your accounts are secure. Most phones and computers have built-in password managers you could use. This would be a great first step.
As your router connects you to the world of the internet, it can also act as a security checkpoint for the kind of internet traffic that reaches you and your family. Our Ultimate WiFi routers have the following built-in features available at your fingertips by simply downloading the Deco app.
As a parent, you might sometimes feel it’s near impossible to pry your teens from their all-consuming screens. The Deco app gives you some of this control back. Allowing you to filter what content your little ones can access, set which times they can access the internet, restrict their total screen time, and track which websites and apps they use.
Virtual Guard Dog
Similar to having a strong home security system that fends off unwelcome visitors, with our Ultimate WiFi routers you’ll have inbuilt security safeguards. These are like having a virtual guard dog protecting you from cyber criminals, automatically providing you with:
Don’t Get Caught in the Scammers Net
If a foreign prince suddenly emails you asking for help accessing his inheritance, you’ll probably already know “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Scammers are constantly looking for ways to blindside you and get you to fall for their tricks. One way they do this is by sending you emails which at first glance look legit.
These emails usually have official-looking branding and are made to look as if they’re from your bank or someone that needs help. They often have a sense of urgency such as “your account has been hacked!” and urge you to respond quickly by either opening a link or an attachment.
Once you open that attachment, the scammers can download a host of malware such as viruses and spyware onto your computer. Or the link can take you to a fake login page – where they can then nab your login details.
To avoid falling into the scammers net, look for these red flags. Check the sender’s email address – if it’s coming from a public account such as @gmail.com, but claims to be from a large organisation this usually tells you the email is bogus. Another thing to look for is if the email is poorly written. If it’s full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors then that’s usually a tell-tale sign it might not be what it seems. If you spot any of these signs, don’t open any attachments or click on any links. Arm yourself further by checking out the full guide here.
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The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.