From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to make us aware of emerging online issues and chooses a topic that reflects the latest online trends and concerns. This year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’, and is a clear call to action for all industries and sectors to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone.

Inspired by the collaborative ethos of this year’s Safer Internet Day theme, Phil McCoubrey, Capita IT and Networks’ Head of Security Architecture, has prepared a list of the top ten tips for staying safe online and to help raise awareness about the importance of internet safety for all.

Always shop with reputable sellers

When shopping online, always shop with well-known and reputable sellers, and be cautious when entering URLs. A misspelled domain, or non-‘https’ site could land you on a false site designed to steal your information.

Read the privacy policy

Ensure you read the website’s privacy policy to understand how and where your personal information is being used. Lack of an easily visible privacy policy should be a red flag to using that site.

Be suspicious of links in unsolicited emails

Always type the link directly into your browser, do not click on them within the email. Hovering over the links should highlight if the link is unsafe, as you would notice the link underneath may be different to the text.

Be wary of 'too-good-to-miss' bargains 

Deals that appear too good to be true often are, so treat them with even more caution!

Do not give 'extra' personal information

If an online retailer requests extra personal information, such as a password for your email or bank account as part of the shopping process, DO NOT enter them.

Secure mobile and tablet devices

If you plan to use your mobile phone or tablet device for online shopping, make sure to enable security features such as passwords and encryption.

Use different passwords

Always use different, long, and complex passwords (or passphrases) for each site and email account. If you don’t, and a hacker steals your password for one account they will have free rein over the others!

Enable multi-factor authentication

This involves combining two or more different ‘factors’ for extra security when logging in – such as something an individual has (like an ATM card or smart card), something a user is (such as a biometric characteristic like a fingerprint or retina scan) or something the user knows, like a password.

Passwords are not meant to be shared

Never give out your passwords online, on the phone or even to friends or family!

Do not store passwords

Many browsers, programs, or web applications will offer to store your password for you so you only have to enter the password once and never again. While seemingly a convenient option, it is a bad idea to store passwords associated with personal or financial accounts. This is especially true if you use public or shared computers.

Visit the Safer Internet Day website for more information, resources and online safety tips, or visit our Cyber Security page if you’d like to find out more about our full range information security services.