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Protect yourself online checklist

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Steps to protect your information online

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): An extra layer of security. If someone were to try & login to your account, they would not be successful without having access to your trusted device or phone number. This is something you have (phone number & device) & something you know (password), here's how to set it up. 

Passwords: Keep passwords separate & secure using 3 random words. For example: ‘SataliteScallopHope’ you can even mix this up with numbers ‘5atalit5callop4ope’ to strengthen this further.

Need help remembering all those passwords? Why not use a password manager?

Security Questions: Use strong security questions to protect the forgotten password facilities to your accounts (change them in a data breach)

  • STOP - Using facts about you and completing social engineering questionnaires.
  • START - Making up the answers, so long as you can remember them is all that matters! Why not use a password manager to help you remember answers by adding a secure note?

Email/Text: Be careful with any unexpected emails or text messages, even if the sender is known & reflects on a previous message chain. Don’t open any attachments, call numbers provided on the message or click on any links sent. Change E-mail account if required. To do this, generate a new account with your chosen provider & update relevant organisations.

Software/app updates: Ensure all software including device APP & IOS updates are all regularly updated. Whatever device or software/apps you use, always ensure you are running the most up to date versions. Updates include security patches to fix virus vulnerabilities! If you can, select ‘Auto Update’ ensuring device protection.

Wifi: Don’t assume Wi-Fi hotspots in places like cafes or hotels are secure - Never use them to do anything confidential like using your email or making a payment. A VPN (virtual private network) will protect your information when connected to free WIFI networks, without you running the risk of anyone being able to record any activity you do.

Antivirus: Ensure it’s installed, updated regularly & running for all devices you use.

Device & Web: Don’t exit applications, instead log-out, otherwise you will likely remain logged in. Look out for the padlock  and HTTPS within your browser for the most secure way of browsing (this ‘S’ stands for secure). Always check the spelling is correct & look out for numbers used instead of letters as this is a method used on fake sites to trick you.

Social Media: Hackers can target social media accounts in various ways from searching using a name, mobile number, email address or by sending fake friend requests.

  • Go for the strongest privacy option available: For example, if Only Me, Friends or Friends of Friends are the given options you’d opt for ‘Only me’.

  • Is it Public? Before joining seemingly “closed” groups, check if the group member’s details are open to public before joining. By ‘checking in’ you are making your ‘check in’ post public

  • What are you sharing? Think about what personal information is stored within your account & what data historically shared

  • Approve who follows you & what you get tagged in

  • Check contact details: Ensure these are set to the most secure option like ‘Only Me’ & that your email address or mobile number cannot be used to link to your account when searched within a search engine.

  • Block contacts: All that link to the stalker & hide friend lists to avoid fake friend requests being sent

  • Remove devices: connected to your account that aren’t required prior to setting up 2FA

  • Review all above settings after each software update

Further Considerations:

Check your digital footprint - Check to see what the internet knows about you: Check PIPL and YASNI sites, then google your name and city. Consider data that is contained within the internet & request removal where required. Other good places to check: UK Phonebook, Online Electoral Open Register, 192.com, Companies House, Telephone Preference Service, Council Planning & property websites.

Credit Reference Agency (CRA): A credit score is a tool used by lenders to help determine whether you qualify for credit. You can monitor your credit file activity or report any fraud to a CRA. You can also request a ‘Password Notice of Correction’. This will put a password on your credit file. We would advise to add a password to all credit reference agencies & keep this password separate to others. Different lenders use different CRA’s for credit applications. This will help prevent credit being taken out in your name, this isn’t a 100% guarantee but a good free facility for additional protection. Delete email’s sent/received requesting this.

Location services for Andriod phones

Location services for Apple phones

For further online support, visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

More resources

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For a PDF version of the above please download from the link below.