Internet safety: Are you Cyberstreetwise?

Using the internet is safe if straightforward steps are taken

Using the internet is safe if straightforward steps are taken

Internet safety is vital, but it’s not something many of us pay a lot of attention to when we’re online. This is worrying, given we may often unwittingly share a great deal of our personal information online – information which, if it ended up in the wrong hands, could be used for unscrupulous purposes.

The Cyberstreetwise campaign was launched last month to make us more aware of just how much of our information is on the web, and the potential hazards of not protecting it sufficiently,

It’s been created by the National Fraud Authority, and MoneySavingExpert.com helped it with the project.

Together, we discussed and identified some of the common issues people overlook when using the internet. And, as a lack of online safety can often have financial consequences, we also talked about how best to warn people.

The end product is Cyber Street, a virtual street illustrating the common dos and don’ts of safe internet use.

You may have already seen posters depicting scenarios you’d avoid in real life, such as throwing your personal documents out of the window onto the street.

The online equivalent could be entering your personal details into a website which you haven’t checked is secure, or by not having privacy settings set up on social media.

Fittingly, today is also Safer Internet Day 2014 (search for #SID2014 on Twitter), which is promoting the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones for children and young people.

Protect yourself online

Using the internet is perfectly safe if very straightforward steps are taken, such as making sure that when you shop online, it’s via a secure site and that you don’t leave yourself signed in, especially when using shared computers.

Here at MoneySavingExpert.com, we ask our forum users to always use the latest internet browsers and to ensure their passwords are strong enough. We also recommend that everyone should try to change their passwords regularly, and ensure they are complex enough so they’re difficult to guess. It’s also wise to use different passwords for different online accounts.

As well as Cyber Street and UK Safer Internet Centre, which runs Safer Internet Day, you can also see our Free Antivirus, Phishing and 25 Ways to Stop Scams guides for help on protecting yourself online.

What are your thoughts? Are you confident you know how to use the internet safely? Please share your thoughts in the discussion below, or in the forum.