Ways to make your Internet safer

Senior couple sitting on terrace using digital tablet

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Centre processed 298,728 complaints in 2016, with internet users reporting losses of more than $1.3bn (£1bn). And when we see the results for 2017, the year that saw the two biggest ransomware attacks ever, expect those numbers to be even greater.

Given the rise of cyber crime and increasingly sophisticated attacks, here are a few ways to keep your private data private. If they aren't new to you, share them with someone who needs them.

Practice some security basics

F-Secure's principal security consultant Tom Van de Wiele says: "The human brain isn't great at assessing risks. We obsess on sensational risks while ignoring the basics - like not locking our devices and leaving them out for someone to find."

F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen also recommends making sure each of your important accounts has a unique password or better still go and get yourself a Password Manager. "This will solve tons of other problems for you, as you will automatically have a unique strong password on every site," he says. By practicing some of these security basics you are making yourself not such an easy target.

Assume other people aren't protecting your data

Anyone who uses the web can be a target for online criminals and anyone who is storing large amounts of data is definitely a target. Data breaches are now considered one of the largest risks in the world and chances are you have already been affected by one, or will be eventually. You can check if your email has already been breached at a site like HaveIBeenPwnd.com. Checking out the list of breaches on the site is a good reminder that you need to choose who you trust wisely and do everything you can to minimise your risks, which includes not making your email address public and avoiding signing up for online spam lists.

Have one browser where you do all your shopping and banking

Keeping a clear focus helps us to avoid many risks online. Unfortunately, the web is designed to grab your mind and send it in a billion different directions. That's why F-Secure security advisor Sean Sullivan recommends installing one browser - Firefox, for instance - that you use exclusively for anything that involves money, like shopping or banking. Leave all your surfing and social media on your other browsers. This is both a smart security tactic and a good reminder that when your private financial data is out, it's serious business.

Don't invite crooks into your life through email

Email still offers criminals one of the simplest ways to intrude into our devices. F-Secure Labs continues to find that most of the attachments in spam emails contain trojans. And links in spam emails can send us to compromised sites or phishing scams. Do whatever you can to avoid opening spam, and try not to click on any strange attachments.

TalkTalk customers can use SuperSafe Boost internet security powered by F-Secure to protect all of their family's devices. Eight-device protection is £2 per month (and it's worth £99 a year). Log in to My Account, select the package you want, and you will receive an email from F-Secure to install it on your device for full protection.

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