Top five tips for staying safe online

Webmaster Drew shares his top five tips for staying safe online. Follow them to keep your passwords protected and computer virus-free.

Going online without taking the proper precautions is a serious financial risk. The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 suggests an estimated 20 per cent of the Australian population were affected by cybercrime last year with $1.8b in direct financial losses and $2.8b in the cost of time involved in resolving the crime, taking the total to $4.6b which surpassed the cost of burglary and assault.

Tip 1 – Install appropriate security software on your computer

Your computer should be installed with a security program which includes a firewall and anti-virus scanning software. Check for updates and scan your computer on a regular basis. Click here for information on security programs available for free.

Tip 2 – Set strong passwords

Passwords are easier to crack than you may think. Whether it’s the name of your favourite band, your football team or even the name of your son, all of these passwords are targeted through password cracking robots. Using a password with only lower case letters and no numbers is like leaving your front door open while you go to the supermarket to shop − you are increasing the chances of being robbed. Click here for information on how to create a secure password and the importance of a security question.

Tip 3 – Emails & websites – caution is always the best approach

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This couldn’t be any more truthful than when referring to emails and websites. Always be cautious of emails you receive, whether they are from strangers or friends. If it is not something your friend would normally send, then don’t click the link. The same goes for a website you have never visited before. Click here to find out how to identify spam and scam emails.

Tip 4 – Think and look before purchasing

There are a few questions to ask yourself before you purchase any item online. Did I find this website through an email link? Is the company reputable? Is the purchasing process secure and do I feel comfortable handing my details to this company? Click here to read Drew’s five tips on shopping safely online.

Tip 5 – Stay up-to-date with current scams

Knowledge is the best defence so it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest scams making the rounds. Whether it’s via email, website or even by phone, it is best to stay abreast of the issues. Visit the Australian Government website for more information.

Do you have any handy tips for staying secure online which Drew may have overlooked?

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).