How many gadgets do you have that access the internet? The chances are you have at least a few that do, as mobile phones, laptops, computers, tablets and other devices all have some way to browse the World Wide Web.
So, how do you stay safe online when virtually everything you own boasts an internet connection?
Britain is one of the biggest users when it comes to online shopping. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found Britain had the largest amount of online shoppers in the developed world. In fact, it was twice the average figure so, given how prolific it is in the UK, we arguably need to be the most careful.
For instance, we don’t want to risk giving away financial data to criminals and other people who mean to do us harm. Even if they’re not looking to steal our credit cards, the information itself can fetch a price elsewhere.
As such, we should be careful where we choose to do online shopping. A secure, home internet connection is much safer than public Wi-Fi as you never know who else is using the shared network of the latter.
Looking for security
Even when we are at home, we still need to keep our guard up. The websites we choose to use need to have a certain level of security. There are certain hallmarks, such as an https URL or an Open SSL EV license (the green padlock symbol) that highlight some of the encryption software being used by that given website.
Likewise, you should restrict who has access to your personal accounts. Using complicated passwords, for instance, will help immensely. Simple one word answers or number sequences can be easily guessed or hacked into.
In a similar fashion, you should not tell other people or leave your passwords saved on shared gadgets as this only increases risk.
Finally, you should always be careful for methods that aim to acquire your information in the disguise of a legitimate source or reason. A common example of this is phishing – the act of pretending to be another source to gain trust and data – and a recent study by ThreatSim found 18% of employees would open false emails and click the malicious hyperlinks inside, falling into a typical phishing trap.