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Basic Cybersecurity Tips for Those New to the Internet

If you’re new to the internet, then words such as cybersecurity can alienate you and put you off taking any action regarding it. Simply put, cybersecurity does what it says on the tin: it keeps you safe online. It is a series of practices or software that prevent you from being harmed online, such as having your data stolen, your emails accessed, or your computer attacked by a virus.

There are some straightforward cybersecurity measures that you can take to protect yourself online.

Phishing
Firstly, simply being aware of acts like phishing will help keep you safe. Phishing is an attempt to obtain your usernames, passwords or bank details by posing as somebody else. This could be in the form of an email, sent from a fraudulent account claiming to be your bank and asking for you to confirm some details for them. You should never, ever reply to any emails disclosing personal information like this, or to any emails that don’t look legitimate. If your bank really did need to contact you about your bank account, this is not the way they would do it.

Protect Against Malware
Protecting against malware – malicious software designed to damage your computer – is easiest done using common sense and protective tools. Much the same as with phishing, steer clear of emails that look untrustworthy (perhaps written in bad English, from an account you don’t recognize or ones that have been flagged as suspicious by your email provider) and don’t use websites you’re unfamiliar with. Invest in well-renowned antivirus protection, asking for expert advice in a computer store if you need help with this.

Use reliable websites
Reliable websites should look good and be user friendly. They will often appear with a little padlock in your URL bar to show that they are trusted. If you are looking into starting your own website, seek out professional designers. For example, finding web design Birmingham will give you specialized expert help in making your site safe and reliable.

Strong Passwords
When asked to create a password, use the guidelines stated in terms of including numbers and special characters. Many websites will offer advice on if the password you are creating is weak, strong or very strong. Always aim for very strong and do not store your passwords online anywhere that somebody could steal them.

Update systems
Keeping your systems, be it the computer itself or software packages, up to date is a simple form of cybersecurity. Some updates will include increased safety measures or patch over formerly faulty ones, so don’t be left with an old, outdated program. Most devices or software will inform you when an update is available, but others will require you to check manually.

False Identities
Beware of malicious internet users pretending to be somebody they are not. This is, of course, the same as with phishing over email, but is also present on platforms such as social media. To remain safe, only accept friend requests or reply to messages from people you know and report or block anybody suspicious you see.

Adhering to these simple cybersecurity principles will help keep you safe in your first steps into using the internet. If anything is still unclear, ask a family member or friend who is a regular internet user.

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