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Wisbech computer expert on internet security

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Internet security is the topic discussed by Philip Brooks this week in his fortnightly I.T Crowd column...

We are rapidly approaching the summer holidays, meaning that many of you will be doing a lot of on-line bookings for days out and holidays. Here are some top tips on how to keep safe whilst on-line.

Set a serious password

A healthy laptop (58002400)
A healthy laptop (58002400)

Coming up with a good password that’s easy to remember as well as strong can be a challenge. The best passwords are made up of phrases, upper and lower case characters and punctuation. For example ‘iLuvshopping4shoes!’ would work really well (well not now obviously I’ve just told 10,000 readers).

Use the £ symbol - it is the UK’s secret weapon as only UK keyboards have it on them!

Split your email addresses

You may possibly have two email addresses already, one for work and one for home. For added security, I would suggest having multiple email addresses for at home – two at a minimum – one for all the social media sites you use (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc) and one for the websites which contain financial information, ie shopping and banking.

This means that should your social email address get hacked, it won’t be quite as catastrophic as the shopping/banking one. A lot of companies give free email addresses out – Microsoft, Google and Yahoo to name just three.

Use a credit card

Avoid using a debit card online. A credit card provides a lot more financial protection on-line than a debit card does.

Update, Update, Update

Always make sure that you keep your PC or Mac up to date with the latest updates from Microsoft and Apple.

Don’t Trust your Anti-Virus Software

A very odd thing to say I know but hear me out. You can spend £60 a year on something like Norton or McAfee and they may give you a warm fuzzy feeling that you are safe, but you are not!

They are making you as safe as they can and for the most part do a really good job of killing viruses and improving your firewall.

They do, however, have two major flaws, the first being they are only as good as their last update and the second being that warm fuzzy feeling of feeling safe.

The internet is full of fraudsters and hackers wanting to gain access to our bank accounts, and what anti-virus software cannot do is to prevent us, the users, from providing them with our easy-to-guess passwords and installing free programs from unknown websites that can actually get around any firewalls that are installed.

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