Lincoln Tech: How to keep safe online

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— Steven Woodhouse is the Managing Director of Lincoln IT Solutions, a company which offers premium IT support and consultancy for businesses in Lincolnshire.

Do you lock your door when you leave the house? It’s common sense to do so. Going online is not as safe as you would think, but with a few simple principles, and applying some common sense, you can make your browsing experience a safe one.

Choose passwords wisely

Do you use the same password for every website you sign up for? This is a common mistake, and a compromised website could lead to your password being available to anyone. Choose a different password for each website you sign up for. Avoid passwords like “password” or the name of your children or pet.

Add complexity to your passwords such as numbers and symbols. For example replace the letter “e” for the number 3. Replace the letter “a” for the @ symbol. A good free tool that can help is RoboForm, as it will generate a random password for each site that you sign up for and will log you in automatically saving time. A master password is set to control all other login details. You can also take a portable copy of RoboForm on a USB stick for convenience.

A lot of websites are now adopting a two-factor authentication method, which put simply, means that in addition to a password, a second form of identification is required such as a number-generating key fob or text message sent to your mobile phone. This extra level of security will become more common in the future so make sure you use it.

Stay away from phishers

Have you heard of “phishing”? No, I haven’t spelt it wrong. Phishing involves some form of communication to try to deceive you and steal your valuable information. The most common form is via e-mail.

Have you ever received an e-mail claiming to be from your bank and asking you to “click here” to sign in to your account? If you follow the link, it will take you to a fake website which will steal your logon details and likely infect your machine with spyware that will try to steal further information. Be very wary of e-mails claiming to be from your bank, Paypal or a Nigerian prince.

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