How you can protect your personal data online
Keeping your data safe is more important than ever
Online fraud is increasing. It's now more important to protect your own data than ever before. Below we'll tell you how you can keep it safe in a number of different ways.
Connecting to the internet securely
Cyber security when shopping online
Do you trust the website you're on?
Make sure the website you’re visiting is secure with these checks:
Look for a little green padlock to the left of the address bar. You’ll also see ‘https://’ at the start of the website address.
Never submit your data to a website which doesn’t present a padlock icon in the address bar – the padlock indicates that your data is encrypted and therefore can’t be intercepted when it travels between you and the website owner, however, be mindful that the presence of a padlock does not mean the website itself is genuine. Fraudsters have now started to use encryption on their sites to increase the likelihood that potential victims will trust the site, and will enter their personal credentials.
Double check the URL website address in the address bar is definitely the right website. A quick Google search of the brand will make sure you are on the right site plus it could highlight any issues that other people may have come across.
You need to carefully check the address for subtle misspellings, additional words and characters and other irregularities which might suggest it’s not authentic.
Is your antivirus up to date?
There are some viruses that collect your personal data for fraudsters to use. Having antivirus software is one of the easiest ways to protect your data when using the internet.
Antivirus software regularly scans your computer to make sure your security isn’t at risk and will alert you if there are any potential problems. Keeping your antivirus programme updated will help the software find any new viruses or security issues, making sure that your data stays protected.
Password and biometrics
Having a strong password is another important part of keeping your accounts secure and protecting your data.
Here are a few simple tips to think about when creating a password:
Use a mixture of lower-case and upper-case letters. Add in numbers and even random punctuation between words.
Avoid saving passwords on any of your devices or web browsers to your laptop. If your device laptop gets lost or stolen, it makes it easy for others to access all your information.
Always log out when you’ve finished browsing a website, especially if you’re on a shared computer.
Data privacy on social media
Think about what you share on social media sites
Being careful about what you share on your public profile is another way to ensure you’re protecting your data.
When posting a status, responding to a quirky survey or sharing a photo, think ‘could this information help a fraudster?’ It might be that you’re giving away your mother’s maiden name, a pet’s name or your place of birth – data that’s often used in passwords or security questions.
Make use of privacy settings
Each social network has its own privacy settings. Make sure you know who can see your personal details by checking the settings for each account. Making these more secure will help you avoid sharing any personal data with people you don’t know.