Some Security Suggestions

Alternate Sign-on Have an alternate sign-on with a different password for your laptop / pc. In this way if your main sign-on is corrupted you have this to fall back on.

Attachments Be wary of opening attachments, particularly if you do not know the sender. Attachments can be something like a word document, a spreadsheet, a picture.

Backups Take a regular back-up onto an off-line device or onto a cloud backup provider. If you find this to time-consuming, do it less regularly but back up your most used files onto one or more memory sticks. Keep more than one backup, for example, last week, two weeks ago and three weeks ago.

Banking Never ever key in your bank details in response to an email. Go directly to their website using the link you normally use.

Downloads When downloading something from the internet, make sure the provider is reputable. If you are asked to download something extra, or something which seems to be different or nit right, get out of there.

Emails Be wary of emails from people you do not know asking to befriend you by email. Do NOT respond to emails saying millions are waiting for you in some bank account somewhere. Do NOT respond to emails from the tax man telling you have a refund which prompt you to follow the link provided to get this windfall; go directly to the site instead, if it is genuine, you will find details there. Similarly, ignore emails from your bank or other sites asking you to follow a link in the email. As before, go directly to the site as you would usually do (if you do not go regularly anyway, then don't now). You can also hover over the link with your mouse to see the associated url, which you can compare with the genuine one.

FaceBook / Twitter etc Be careful who you share personal information with. Be wary of those who ask to add or befriend you, check them out if you can, do you or does someone on your list know them? Do they have relevant information on their profile?

Make / Model / Serial No. / Software Keep a paper note of the make, model, serial number and name and level of software in use.

Mobiles Use a screen lock. Make sure the location-finder is active.

Passwords Do not use the same password for different sites. Do not use family or pet names. Do not use keyboard sequences such as qwerty. Longer passwords are better. Use a password store which will retain your passwords in an encrypted file.

Protection Install a reputable security package. Do not rely solely on the one which comes embedded in the operating system. Keep it updated. Run the scans regularly. Follow its recommendations.

Purchases Try to use a PayPal account instead of giving your card details. In this way, your risk is limited to whatever you have in your PayPal account. If you must enter your card details, make sure it is into a reputable payments processor. Also ensure that there is a lock symbol on the left of the url (see the top left of this page) and https is there instead of http.

Updates Ensure your operating system and packages are updated regularly. Providers such as Microsoft and Adobe will prompt you when they have an update. Follow their recommendations.


Some Definitions

  • Phishing Using email to look like a genuine email so as to surreptiously obtain personal information.
  • Malware Any software which can do damage to a computer system.
  • Ransomware Ransomware will block access to a website or a computer system by blocking access until money has been paid over.
  • Hacking Unorthodox or highly technical access to a computer system. Can be good or bad.
  • Virus A piece of software which can copy itself from computer system to computer system and usually do damage in some way.