internet scams

How to protect yourself from internet scams in 2017

The internet has made life a lot easier as more and more daily tasks can take place online. Applying for a home loan? Buying some groceries? Looking for love? We no longer need to leave the house for these things and many more thanks to the web.

However, some frequently ignore the risks associated with sharing personal details online. Cyber security has come a long way to protect us, but there are a few easy steps you can take to make sure you are doing your part to stay safe.

Install security software on your devices
A small amount of prevention is far easier than a great deal of repair. Security software is essential if you engage in any type of financial activity online. Always ensure your security software is turned on and set to automatically detect updates. You should download these updates as soon as they are available to reduce the likelihood of malicious programs making their way onto your device, and subsequently, potentially into your finances and credit card details.

Use strong passwords
Creating strong passwords is a great way to ensure your security. Traditional internet wisdom suggests it should be at least 12 characters long and include a mixture of letters and numbers. The best passwords use multiple words and characters, however it’s recommended that you avoid phrases or any common grouping of words, making them completely random.

Replacing letters with numbers isn’t as useful as people think, using the word “beyond” but changing it to “bey0nd” is not difficult for a hacking program to identify. Randall Munroe, the computer scientist behind xkcd, states that using four random English words would take 550 years to crack if a program were to make 1000 guesses per second. Be sure to change passwords regularly and to use separate ones for different accounts.

Be careful what you download
You need to be careful not just with what you download, but where you download it from. If you require new software, it’s best to get it from the company’s official website. Fraudsters can hide malicious software in the files you are downloading which can spring up and cause problems once they are on your device. These types of scams often offer you costly programs for free as an incentive to get you to download, so beware of offers too good to be true.

If any suspicious activity or transactions appear on your account, you must contact your bank immediately to let them know. For more information on online banking security, get in touch with the team at Beyond Bank.