Five Top Tips Every Web User Should Know
We all know how fun and useful it is to use the internet for socialising, shopping, information and entertainment. So, to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Safer Internet Day, we’ve come up with a list of essential advice for taking care of yourself online.
Choose a strong password and change it regularly
‘ilikecats’ is a weak password, because it contains only lower case letters, and anyone who knows that you like cats might be able to guess it. ‘150BIG&ScaryTigers!’ is a strong password because it contains a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (such as !, £, %, & or ?). You should also change your passwords regularly, and avoid using the same password for different websites, because if somebody finds it out they will be able to access all of your accounts.
Download legal music and films
If you download music and films from illegal file sharing websites you’re risking prosecution for breaking copyright law. You’re also exposing your computer to harmful viruses, and your favourite bands and actors aren’t getting paid for their work. Sites such as iTunes and Netflix offer good value music and films online, and free and legal music streaming services such as Spotify are also available.
Install antivirus software
Viruses can be sent to you by email or hidden in files you download from the internet. They can harm your computer or steal your personal information. Antivirus software may seem expensive but it’s definitely a worthwhile investment to protect yourself online. Some popular brands of antivirus software include McAfee and Norton.
Never share personal details
Beware of emails which contain links to fraudulent websites which try to steal your personal details (this is known as ‘phishing’). Genuine companies will never ask for your name, address, password telephone number or bank account codes by email. If in doubt, call the sender to find out if the email is genuine.
Report online bullying
If you feel hurt or upset by comments on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter there are plenty of ways you can stop the bullies. First save the posts as evidence, then change your privacy settings to block the senders, and make a complaint to CEOP or report serious incidents to the police. You can also visit Bullying UK for advice.
We’re also holding an event to raise awareness of internet safety at Manchester Digital Laboratory on 8th February. For more details, take a look at this poster, and to reserve your place, call the marketing department on 0161 236 0829 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ben Thomas, Marketing Officer