Online security and privacy

As our lives become increasingly integrated with online solutions and management tools for daily problems, there is an ever growing exposure to potential threats to our online security and privacy. According to internet security experts we are most at risk in the following situations:

SOCIAL NETWORKSWith Facebook slacking its guidelines on age limitations for users, the demographic of the whole user base becomes more carefree. This will result in a new wave of trends on the site that neglect to remember that a social networking site is not the same as a chat in private with friends. You don't just have to be careful of what unsavoury characters are spying on everything you post, we've seen many cases recently of people getting in trouble with the law from their social networking practices. The sites are even working a lot more closely with legal authorities than you realise so be aware of the potential impact of your sharing.

See also: Dropbox hit by Zeus phishing attack

OFFICIAL LOOKING EMAILS It seems no matter how carefully we set spam filters, the odd official looking email will always sneak through. They are getting more difficult to spot these days too. The scammers are able to falsify corporate layouts and even email addresses to give a very convincing impression. There's one hard and fast rule that will always keep you safe though. Genuine financial institutions will never ask you to share sensitive information by email. They will never ask you to verify your account, click through to a security check or anything of the kind. If you are ever tempted to act on an email you've received of this nature, go directly to the site in question.

See also: It's time to level up your mobile security programme, says Forrester

PUBLIC WI-FINever should we be more aware of our digital surroundings than when using public Wi-Fi access. Surfing at home is so convenient and we are used to safely doing so 24-7 with the available internet packages – click here for some options – yet it's amazing how many people will sit in a cafe or library and turn their screen to conceal any sensitive information they are reading or typing in the belief that this keeps them protected. Surfing in public is nothing like punching your pin number into a cash machine, you don't need to be aware of those over your physical shoulder. It's the eyes hiding under your digital screen which need to be heeded. When logging in to anything in public, stay clear of typing in any security codes or passwords that could be used at a later time to access your private information.

We all need to be more digitally aware in the same way we are physically aware of our surroundings, it is the surest way for safe online practice to become as commonplace as looking before crossing the road or not leaving your wallet unattended.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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