Housekeeping and hacking: online issues for everyone

We all have to be aware that the world is full of hackers and spammers, and that using the internet on our personal laptops leaves us open to potential security issues.

Many of us have a “of course this won’t happen to me” attitude about our online security but when you see your friend’s accounts on facebook suddenly start spurting mis-spelt and inappropriate comments, you know that the hackers have made another hit. It could be you next.

As a web user, you should become proactive, rather than reactive, about your security. One way to do this is to have a strong password which you change on a regular basis. Too often, users select a combination of their date of birth, their house name/ number, their children’s or pet names. A good password is a combination of text characters and numbers, and a word or combination that doesn’t have a connection with you and your life. In fact, some websites will only accept passwords that include text characters, numbers and special characters, such as £$+*&!.

Living in Wales, I have access to a different language word as a password which is a good option. This is mainly because the Welsh language uses a different alphabet from English, and the majority of words are 90% hacker-proof eg Llongyfarchiadau (Congratulations)/ mwynhewch (enjoy)/ gwrw (beer).

Other good housekeeping rules are that you should regularly log in and log out of your social media accounts, rather than leaving them open within your pc/ laptop. If you don’t log out, making amendments to your profile settings can prove to be problematic, as well as the obvious flaw in leaving your accounts continually open: anyone who accesses your device can also access your accounts.

Try and keep your password details in your head. Don’t write it down in a notebook that you use regularly, and don’t have a list of your passwords stuck to, or near to your pc, particularly if you use a computer within a shared office.

Finally, if you want to be taken seriously online as a business professional, don’t use your childhood nickname in your email address. The free-spirit that you felt at university when you created “DizzyDandelion67@ …” may not be appropriate for your career in the serious world of business as an accountant or solicitor.

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