A – Z of Internet Safety

As a Supporter of Safer Internet Day 2017, we’ve put together an A-Z of our top internet safety tips and uncover the meanings of some buzzwords you might not even know exist. For further details on how to keep yourself and others safe online, or to see how OmniCom provide this, we’d be more than happy to help.

 

A is for Adware – a form of software that downloads displays unwanted ads when you’re online. It’s often bundled with a software that a user downloads online, usually to cover development costs. More of an annoyance than anything else, it can be classified as spyware, a type of malware that is considered to be privacy invasive.

 

B is for Botnet. The phrase botnet refers to a network of thousands – or even millions – of infected computers, where the network is used by the malware to spread. You might be infected with a bot in the same way you would with any other piece of malware, out of date software, pirated software or dodgy downloads etc.

 

C is for CEOP. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command works on both a national and international level to identify threats to children and helps bring offenders to account. You’re able to make reports to them, and they provide really useful advice if you or someone you know gets into a difficult situation online.

 

D is for Downloads. Downloads are a great way to enjoy music, video and obtain information in files like PDF’s and even photos. Before downloading, make sure it’s coming from a trusted source and you have suitable anti-virus in place to combat malware.

 

E is for Emails. People rely on emails without a second thought and because of this, is the perfect way for you to be targeted. Be vigilant about emails from unknown senders and careful about who you give personal information to. Ensure your spam filters are switched on and where possible, log out of webmail when you’re finished.

 

F is for Footprint. Your PC, Laptop, Tablet and Phone all maintain a record of the websites you’ve visited and leave a trail of activity in cyberspace – even if emails have been deleted and history cleared.

 

G is for Gaming. Most online computer games use an assumed identity, so you’re usually unaware of who the other player really is. Be careful of unfiltered, unmoderated discussions, downloading ‘cheats’ that could contain viruses and playing for so long you become addicted!

 

H is for Hackers. Cyber crime costs the UK around £27 billion a year! Along with the tips mentioned here, make sure you use different passwords, ignore pop ups, enable two-step verifications and set up a ‘wipe my phone’ option if it’s available. Mobile devices can be just as risky and PCs and Laptops.

 

I is for Identity. As useful as the Internet may be, it’s also a hotspot for identity thieves. Email scams, spyware and viruses are among the most common methods of stealing personal information like bank details, addresses etc.

 

J is for Job Searching. Did you know around 67% of job seekers begin their search online? Watch out for fictitious job posts that could lead to identity theft, premium rate telephone scams, paying for non-existent DBS checks or providing unneeded personal or financial information on your CV.

 

K is for Knowledge. Be aware of the scams doing the rounds, read up on articles, follow the news and share the information to help others.

 

L is for Log Off. If you ever use public computers make sure you don’t save your login information. When you’re done, log out of all websites. It isn’t enough to simply close the browser window or go to a different site. Many programs include an automatic login feature so make sure this is disabled too.

 

M is for Monitoring. Did you know around 42% of 10-17-year-olds have been exposed to indecent images on the internet? If you’re a parent, take advantage of parental controls on apps and devices. If you’re a school, take a look at the optionsOmniCom can provide.

 

N is for Netiquette. The blend of ‘internet’ and ‘etiquette’. Most forums and interactive sites have a page that sets out its ‘rules’. Nothing too hard to follow, it basically means you should respect others’ views and be polite.

 

O is for Online Radicalisation. Radicalisation by extremist groups is becoming increasingly evident online. They attempt to influence vulnerable people and unfortunately manage to do so via social media, chatrooms and instant messaging. If you’re approached, think about the consequences, keep an eye on others if you believe they are at risk and report any concerns you have. There’s more information and advice at Prevent Tragedies and Let’s Talk About It.

 

P is for Passwords. Never give out your passwords and keep your privacy settings as high as possible. Wherever possible, use a variety of characters, letter case and numbers.

 

Q is for Quick. Information can be spread online as quickly as it can be posted. Be aware of the type of messages you’re sending as they can get into the wrong hands quickly.

 

R is for Ratting. Not quite the rodent kind, but still not pleasant to experience. One type of spyware becoming increasingly common is known as a RAT (Remote Access Trojan), which criminals use to access your device to take control of it to obtain private information. They’re usually downloaded invisibly so make sure you never download anything from an untrusted source and take care about what links you click on in emails.

 

S is for Shopping. Never shop on a site unless the URL has the “https” and padlock icon in the address bar. If possible, use a credit card for purchases too as you’re more likely to be reimbursed if anything goes wrong.

 

T is for Think. You don’t need to be a technology whiz to know it isn’t smart (or safe) to open an attachment titled “Claim Your Inheritance!”. Use your common sense and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

 

U is for Uncomfortable. The online world should be used as a helpful and entertaining resource, if you see anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried – tell someone.

 

V is for VPN. Virtual private networks are extremely useful and work by rerouting traffic through dedicated, encrypted servers. VPN’s are great if you frequently use public networks and helps to hide the information you share.

 

W is for WiFi. Protect your home network by changing your router’s default settings and making sure you have a strong password enabled.

 

Z is for Zzzzz. The internet can be a great place to broaden horizons with a wealth of information but it’s crucial to understand how to stay safe. We hope this list hasn’t sent you to sleep and has provided some insight into key e-safety buzzwords and tips!