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Online Threats Social networking

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming more and more popular. The nature of these sites creates security risks, so you should always be cautious when using them.

These types of sites promote personal connections and communications, and require you to provide a certain amount of personal information.

However, the more information available, the easier it becomes for others to take advantage of your identity. In some cases, criminals could fraudulently exploit this to obtain products and services in your name.

Personal information could also be used to conduct a 'social engineering attack'. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals - often young people - to meet them in person, which could lead to a dangerous situation.

Essential tips for protecting your identity

  • Always limit the amount of information you provide - do not post information that could be used by third parties, such as your address (home, school or workplace), date of birth, postcode, job title or information about your schedule or routine
  • Always read and understand privacy policies - some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam and unwanted emails
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource - so consider how others may view any information provided. Avoid using inappropriate language in your profile in blogs and other forums
  • Never converse with strangers - the internet makes it easy for predators and cyberbullies to misrepresent their identities and motives
  • Be sceptical and maintain your integrity - don't believe everything you read online. People may post misleading information about various topics, including their own identities, to lull you into a false sense of security
  • Change passwords regularly - and use a separate email address for social networking sites

Children are especially susceptible to the threats presented by social networking sites. Parents should inform their children about internet safety and be aware of their online habits. Some useful tips are:

  • Keep your PC in a central, public part of your home
  • Set clear rules for your children's internet use
  • Use family safety or parental controls software
Online Threats Malicious software

What are the implications?

Malicious software or trojans can detect the passwords typed when logging into online banking and credit card details entered when shopping online. Criminals will then use these details to commit fraud.

When a customer attempts to log in to online banking, some advanced Trojans can introduce fake additional pages or redirect the user to a spoofed website. These are an attempt to trick unsuspecting people into disclosing sensitive information. 

What can I do?

The most effective protection is to keep your computer’s security up-to-date:

  • Protect yourself by downloading Rapport, the free security software from the financial security experts at Trusteer.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
Online Threats Anti-virus

What are the implications?

Viruses are designed to replicate and multiply, spreading between computers. They can cause severe problems, sending out spam email, slowing down or crashing your computer, corrupting or deleting files, and sending confidential information to fraudsters. Viruses may even redirect your internet browser to spoof websites.

What can I do?

The most effective protection is to keep your computer’s security up-to-date:

Online Threats Security software

What are the implications?

Spyware is designed to invade your privacy, gathering information about your computer and internet activity. Spyware can also be responsible for irritating pop-up adverts, slowing down your computer, and sending confidential information to fraudsters.

What can I do?

The most effective protection is to keep your computer’s security up-to-date:

  • Protect yourself by downloading Rapport, the free security software from the financial security experts at Trusteer.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.


Online Threats Firewall

Which firewall?

Windows XP and above and Mac OS X operating systems have built-in firewalls. Look up your help menus for instructions on checking or setting up your firewall.

Alternatively, you can buy a firewall from a computer retailer.

Online Threats Software updates

Keep the heart of your computer running safely

The latest operating systems - such as Windows Vista and above and Mac OS X - can automatically keep themselves up-to-date.

This typically means that you have the option to have updates automatically downloaded as soon as they're available, helping to protect your computer from security breaches. Take the time to review your settings.

You can find out more about updating your operating system by visiting the Microsoft or Apple websites.

It is important to keep ALL software up to date, including Adobe and Java.

Online Threats Wireless network protection

Stop fraudsters from hijacking your wireless home network

Many laptops and handheld computers now come with built-in wireless networking.

And the most common wireless device that could introduce risk at home is the wireless router used to connect your computer to the internet.

Most wireless routers are delivered without their security features turned on. Leaving your wireless network unprotected could be an open door for nosy neighbours - or even worse - malicious attackers searching for wireless networks to break into.

Attackers who access your network could anonymously hijack your internet connection and steal personal information stored on your computer.

How to secure your wireless router at home

If you are not sure how to complete some of these tasks, ask someone with computer experience whom you trust to help.

  • Refer to the documentation that came with your hardware to find out how to protect the router
  • Make sure that every computer using your wireless router has a firewall
  • Use a strong password to access the wireless router
  • Enable WPA 2 encryption instead of WEP where possible as it is a stronger solution
Online Threats Browser updates

Stay safe with the latest software

A browser is simply the software - such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari - that you use to access the internet.

Browsers are now more secure than ever before, and a big improvement on the versions that were available even 12 months ago.

And, as criminals often seek to exploit security gaps in older browsers, it pays to make sure you have the latest versions and that you have downloaded all the latest Security Updates for your system.

How to stay up-to-date

The good news is that browsers are usually free. And if you have configured Windows or Mac OS X to automatically download the latest updates, the chances are you're already up-to-date.

However, you can always get the latest browsers directly from the companies that made them.

Download the latest browsers

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Google Chrome

Note: Once downloaded, Firefox and Google Chrome update automatically.

Online Threats Auction sites

Look after your own interests

Although buying and selling items using online auction sites can be successful, not every person you encounter is trustworthy and not every selling site is as it seems.

Whether buying or selling, it's always important to know who you are dealing with. And remember - giving your account details to an unknown third party may lead to identity theft.

When buying...

  • Use secure websites only - these are identified by a padlock or key symbol and a site address that changes from 'http' to 'https'
  • Check all documentation when you are shopping online and make sure the site is genuine
  • Know what you are expecting to receive, and preferably order items that are relatively small in value
  • Always print off any order and find out as much detail about the seller as possible
  • Remember that it can be time consuming and costly to chase non-receipt of any orders - and this should be considered before purchasing

When selling...

  • Never release any items until you have received payment in full - and make sure cheques have cleared before handing over goods
  • Understand the true value of the items you are selling, and do not be tempted to accept the first offer that comes your way
  • Be aware you may receive counterfeit documents such as drafts or cheques. If you are unsure, ask your bank to check these out for you
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