Internet Security

Increasingly internet security is an issue for all of us. Below are useful links for reviewing your security whether you are a business, parent or individual. (In reading this page, hardware is the physical device, software are the programs that run the device or provide you with tools such as word processing. On a phone these are called Apps (applications)).

In thinking about your internet security, you need to think about ANYTHING connected to the internet : this can be :

Youphoner laptop, phone or tablet 

Most people are aware that they need to password protect these items. You should always also have an up to date virus checker. There are a number of major suppliers to choose from, such as Kaspersky, Norton (Symantec), McAfee and others.

You need to run an operating system that is supported by the manufacturer and allow it and your main applications (e.g. Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat) from the major software providers to automatically update. These updates contain corrections to known security vulnerabilities. Microsoft’s Windows XP and Vista are examples of unsupported operating systems which no longer receive security updates.

internet-thigns-2Other internet connected devices also called “The Internet of Things” such as : central heating thermostats, boiler controls, security cameras, cars, appliances. You should check that you have changed the default password to a strong alternative. Also  check what data they are sending to the manufacturer. For example : your app enabled central heating system may, by implication, send data on the times when you are in and out of your home.

Internet connected toys may be capable of being hacked if they are not protected by a good password.

facebook-logoApps and software on your phone or tablet may be set-up to transmit data about your usage of that app to the manufacturer. Check whether or not you think that is appropriate. In some cases it is necessary, for example : if you are calling an UBER cab, it needs to know your location and it is useful to see where the cab is versus where you are. In other cases it is not. Check the settings on your software and ensure you are comfortable with what data is being shared.

In the UK, birth date is a sensitive piece of data that is often used in security checks. It is better to use a false birth date on facebook and other social media sites, and try not to give the game away by wishing someone “happy birthday” on the right date!

Finally, it is astonishing at how readily parents publish and share  pictures of children and their names on social media. Given that such pictures or your details also often show a location, you might want to think about whether or not it is a good idea.

For further quick tips on how to avoid problems with malware (viruses, ransomware, trojan horses etc.) click on this link : Quick Tips

There are two really useful sites for exploring these issues further and they include advice on keeping children safe and countering cyberbullying :

Get Safe On Line : covers every type of security issues for both individuals and businesses. It is government sponsored.

CEOP : is the police’s excellent site which allows you to report internet related issues affecting children.