Avoid malicious sites and optimise your security features
Could you spot a fake website? Do you implement safe internet use in your business?
When visiting websites, ensure there is a padlock in the address bar, rather than the words ‘not secure’. If the padlock is visible on the page rather than the address bar, this doesn’t count. You are also looking for links with ‘https://‘ rather than ‘http://‘. This means the site owner has a digital certificate stating the content is encrypted, therefore, no cyber criminals can intercept it and steal your information.
However, there is no guarantee that the site, organisation or company and the person you are interacting with, is who you believe they are. Check the address bar to confirm their authenticity and to see if the URL is the same as the address you clicked or entered, as some fake websites redirect you to different links. Some sites can have an EVSSL. This means their site has been thoroughly checked and is declared safe.
Searching the Internet
Safe internet use can provide you with everything you are looking for. However, if not used safely it can also come with many risks such as, exposure to offensive or illegal content, or visibility of your internet search activity.
Here are a few extra precautions you can take when searching the internet:
- Use accurate search terms that are spelt correctly to ensure that you don’t unintentionally end up viewing offensive material
- Some pages flag up as ‘potentially harmful‘, you are then given a choice whether to continue or leave. Unless you are sure the site is safe, always leave
- Install filtering software to protect you from offensive and illegal sites
- Use advanced search settings to filter out offensive and illegal content. Read the guide here on how to use ‘Advance Search’ on Google
Cookies are files which store information such as username and usage preferences, so you don’t have to log in every time. These are stored per device after every session on a website. Some cookies even track your habits, so they can target you with ads. Follow the Cookie Management Guide to take control of your cookies preferences.
To ensure maximum security when using cookies, action the following:
- Ensure you have the latest version of your browser installed
- Always log out of accounts before closing a browser. Closing a browser without logging out doesn’t automatically log you out
- Turn on the cookie notifications in your browser settings as some sites don’t work if you disable cookies
- Some browsers allow you to choose whether you enable or disable cookies per site, allowing you to choose cookies for only the sites you trust
- Ensure you and your business have the latest antivirus updates
- Use a cookie management program to delete old cookies. You can also do this in your browser settings to delete any unwanted cookies
Update Your Browser
To help protect your business, ensure your devices are running the latest versions of your desired browser. Updating your browser reduces the risks that come with online activity and has the following benefits:
- More compatible – new technology is invented every day. Browsers have to keep up with this, so with every browser update comes new features
- Updates can fix issues the previous version had. If you don’t update your browser, you run the risk of security issues like hacking, preventing you from maintaining safe internet use. These updates protect your computer from things like viruses, scams, malware etc
- New versions of browsers often come with more settings you can customise making internet searches more bespoke to you, improving the usability
- Updates can improve the overall speed of the browser. You don’t want to be stuck on an old version taking forever to load
- The best part of updating your browser – it’s free!
When choosing to downloading anything off the internet, whether it’s music, videos, software, files or images, you have to be careful and ensure you have the right permission to do so. If not, you can end up in serious trouble involving legal action and large fines. Ensure you maintain safe internet use.
The Internet of Things
These are everyday objects connected to the internet that you wouldn’t expect. Examples include:
- IP cameras for security and baby monitors
- Central heating controllers
- Multi-room entertainment devices
- ‘Smart’ electric goods
All of these objects use the internet for a status or performance to increase efficiency in real-time and still require safe internet use. These all allow users to monitor and manage some or all the functions remotely from a mobile or some other device. Internet of Things is becoming more popular in Manufacturing Facilities, Power Generation Plants, Energy Grids, Healthcare Facilities and Transportation systems, with 24/7 connection improving work life and productivity.
Despite the amazing advantages modern technology has, there are always risks. These are some of the risks you could be making yourself and your business vulnerable to:
- Unauthorised access and hacking
- Home and business IP CCTV camera hacking – cybercriminals spy on you or your business and sometimes stream the footage online exposing potentially confidential data
You can help prevent the likeliness of this by changing the default password for the router, securing the WiFi to WPA2, not revealing the access code to unauthorised people. Also read the instructions on how to set up the WiFi securely. If this doesn’t work or you require help, give us a call on 0800 680 00 88.
Things to watch out for:
- Sites that are ‘Not Secure’ without the padlock symbol in the address bar
- Downloadable content- do you have the rights to download and use. Also, is it safe?
- Misspellings and grammatical mistakes are a big giveaway
- Websites asking you for a lot of personal information in full
Protect yourself and your business
- Check the address, phone number and contact details on the website. If you are unsure, verify how legitimate the website is by making contact with one of the provided methods
- Roll the mouse over any clickable links. DO NOT CLICK THEM. If you hover over them the true destination should be revealed
- Check the address bar to see if it is the same address that you entered or if you have been redirected
- Get professional advice before making any investments online
- Don’t invest in any recruitment schemes where quick, fast money is promised, or an advanced payment is requested
- Never click links in any emails you receive that appear suspicious
- Change the passwords to any accounts that could be involved
- Phone us immediately on 0800 680 00 88 and report it to Action Fraud