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Five tips to improve your online security

Keeping your private data secure and completely safe from the grasp of hackers is vital. Some of Britain’s largest and most successful businesses have fallen victim to hacking, Lloyds TSB, Tesco Bank and Debenhams to name but a few. There are many ways a cyber-stalker can target you – but luckily – there are also many ways to protect yourself against such intrusion. Below are five online security tips to keep in mind and help you stay safe.

1. Always keep your privacy settings on

Making sure that unscrupulous people cannot access or monitor your data is vitally important. Most people don’t think about the privacy aspect of social media while sharing private and personal details about themselves or their families. Hackers and cybercriminals can exploit this data, and can use it for ways you've never imagined.

Most social networking websites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allow users to tweak or update their privacy settings easily. You can take advantage of these features and keep your online privacy intact on social media.

2. Use encryption

The importance of encryption, in this day and age, can never be underestimated. Encryption secures our data and online communications by using a series of complex algorithms which cannot be read or accessed by hackers or third-party agencies.

There are multiple ways you can encrypt your private data. You can use communication apps like WhatsApp or Telegram which employ end-to-end encryption when messaging friends and family. Be sure though, that they use the same app!

3. Choose strong passwords and don’t reuse them over different sites

If your password is easy to guess, then you might as well just open the front door and invite everyone in, because even the best website security won’t be able to protect your account. Choosing a complicated password maybe difficult sometimes but it is absolutely necessary.

Important advice is to not use the same password on many different sites. If a website gets hacked and your password and email address was stolen, then the hackers could get into your email and see who else you have online accounts with, and access them too. For websites you hardly ever use, you could just login through the ‘forget password’ mechanism.

There is a lot of help and advice available on the internet about creating passwords. Some people find using a password manager helps, there is advice online about these on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website

4. Keep your antivirus program updated

Anti-virus software saves you from viruses and malware programs that are out there. It may not save you from all the threats, but it can detect and will remove most malware — if you've made sure that it's up-to-date.

5. Make sure your internet connection is secured

When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, say in a coffee shop or department store, you have no control over its security. Whatever you do, DO NOT access your bank or savings account! Hackers can take advantage of this, as they can hack into any device connected to that Wi-Fi hotspot. Wait till you get home.

To finish, and perhaps one of the most important tips to remember is, if you receive an email from someone or a business you don’t know – DO NOT OPEN IT – delete it. That person who is pretending to be a prince from a far-flung country is only after one thing … your details and therefore your money. Stay safe.

21 May 2018

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551