Whether you are running a business or simply using the internet to keep in touch with friends and do some online shopping, it is extremely important to stay secure online. Cybercrime is constantly evolving and increasing and knowing how to guard against threats is the best way of ensuring that your personal information is not stolen!

There are many ways that you can stay secure online, and here we have listed the six most important. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two of these—the more of these tips you use, the safer you will be!

Choose Passwords Carefully

One of the simplest yet most important ways to protect yourself against identity theft is to use strong passwords. The best passwords are ones that nobody would be able to guess (but that you will remember of course!), so avoid names, birthdays, and the dreaded “password”!

Although using the same password for everything will make it easy to remember, this also presents a security risk. If someone else gets hold of this password, they can sign in to all your accounts! Keeping a list of your passwords in a secure file or on a hidden piece of paper may be the best option.

Don’t Open Suspicious Emails

Phishing scams are common online. If you receive an email with an offer that seems too good to be true (e.g. “Click here for your free £1000 voucher” or “Hey handsome, I saw your profile and want to meet you right now”), it probably is. It is best not to open these emails, and certainly don’t download anything from them! If an email claimed to be from a reputable company, check that the spelling and grammar are correct—an email from “custommerservice@amazom.co.m” is one to avoid.

Use Good Quality Antivirus Software

There are many brands of antivirus software out there. Do your research before choosing which one is best for you, but whatever you do, make sure you always use antivirus software before going online! As well as offering antivirus, some companies as Iconic IT offer full security solutions.

Keep Your Devices Up to Date

It doesn’t matter if you are using a smartphone, PC, laptop, tablet, or any other device, always make sure that you have installed the latest OS and app updates before connecting to the internet. Out-of-date software can be more easily targeted by hackers, as updates often install fixes for weak security spots.

Don’t Share Personal Information Unless Necessary

Although sometimes you will have to share personal information (e.g. your address, your bank details, etc.), such as when you are online shopping, be careful where you share this information. Check that the website is reputable and secure before you do this!

Consider Using Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication is a system that requires you to identify yourself in more than one way to gain access to data. For example, a website may send a verification code to your phone or email, which you then must enter before being able to access certain parts of a site. Multi-Factor Authentication is more secure than single-factor authentication, so it is best to use sites that use it where possible.