February 16, 2015 | Becki Hooper | Blog

Staying Secure Online


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Protect your online privacy


Passwords are your first defence against hackers; therefore it is important to ensure that you use what is considered a strong password as poor passwords can leave people and businesses vulnerable to online crime such as identity theft, fraud and extortion.

Creating a strong password

  • Use upper and lower case letters
  • Use three words or more
  • Include a symbol
  • Include numbers

Look around and pick three random words such as ‘pen’, ‘cactus’ and ‘chair’. Put these words together and swap some of the letters for numbers and symbols like this: p3nCac+u5cha!r. The longer the password the harder it would be for someone to crack!

What to avoid…

When creating a password you should avoid using the following:

  • Pet’s name
  • Other family members’ name
  • Current partner’s name
  • Child’s name
  • Something related to your favourite sports team
  • Date of birth
  • Favourite holiday
  • Significant dates
  • Place of birth
  • Number sequences

Use Social Media safely

Social Media is a fun way of staying in touch with your friends and family especially those who live far away and is an easy way of sharing what you are up to. However this information can be used by criminals to commit online crimes such as identity theft or hacking. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram or a blog, you need to be sure what you are posting isn’t going to increase the risk to your online safety.

Tips to using social media safely

  • Make sure you know exactly what you’re sharing and who you’re sharing it with. Check your privacy settings.
  • Don’t share any holiday plans or details of your current location online. This information could be used by a burglar to pinpoint when you won’t be at home.
  • Don’t upload photos of items of high value on any type of open forum such as birthday or Christmas presents. A burglar could use this information as their shopping list.

Spotting common internet scams…

The internet is a wealth of information, products and services which the majority of us will access without issue, although there are criminals who take advantage of this and will use online anonymity to deceive internet users and steal if there is an opportunity.


“Phishing scams are when fraudsters send malicious fake emails, social network posts and texts to tempt you in or try to gain your trust to take your sensitive information and/or money.” (Cyber Streetwise)

Advice: If something seems too good to be true, then it usually is! So if you are in doubt about an email or online deal, delete it!

More information about phishing and other related scams can be found on the Action Fraud website.


“Cyber criminals will try to hack your computer/tablet/smartphone to gain access to your systems and sensitive information in order to commit fraud and other crimes.” (Cyber Streetwise)


  • Always use strong passwords.
  • Install antivirus software on all devices.
  • Use firewalls at home and your business.

All information used in this blog has been sourced from Cyber Streetwise. For further information visit www.cyberstreetwise.com