Are you secure online?

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Following the prominence of online security in the news this week Tarvinonline thought it might be timely to remind people of simple steps they can take to protect themselves from cyber threats.

You can vastly improve your security in the following 5 ways.

1) Keep your operating system (e.g. Windows) and other software up to date.

The operating system is the software (computer code) that your computer uses to make it work. It needs updating periodically. If it is not updated it is vulnerable to bad software (malware) which can infect your computer. Many software packages will do this automatically. But, its worth checking.

2) Have good anti-virus software installed and up to date.

This software used to prevent, detect and remove malware. There are a number of ant-virus packages (e.g. McAfee, Norton etc.). These will update every day to make sure your computer and removable devices (e.g. USB memory sticks, flash drives) are free of malware.

3) Make sure your computer has a Firewall and it is enabled.

A Firewall controls messages and data between your computer and the Internet by applying a set of rules. Many personal computer operating systems include software-based firewalls to protect against threats from the public Internet. Your computer should normally warn you if you do not have the Firewall turned on. Make sure it's enabled.

4) Be careful what you download

You can help your Firewall by not downloading software or other files unless you know and trust the source. Also, do not open attachments sent to you by unknown people, or even from friends if you are not expecting an attachment.

5) Use strong passwords

Generally attackers are trying to login to your account by guessing your password. Good passwords have 10ish characters, are not a word and contain a mix of special, lower-case and uppercase characters. Also avoid using a password more than once.

Of course don't forget these also apply to Smart phones too.

More information on being 'Web wise' can be found here

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