As the internet becomes more and more sophisticated, so does its benefits.

Nowadays, you can contact people on the other side of the world almost instantly. Email, social media, virtual reality and/or real-time video calls have made staying in touch so much easier. You can even buy goods online and have them delivered straight to your doorstep.

But with all the good also comes the bad. Data theft, identity theft and money scams are now at all time highs. Online safety is becoming more difficult to maintain.

If you’re concerned, don’t worry too much. Our top online safety tips will help you take care while you’re on the internet.

Always use strong passwords

Online criminals have made a pastime out of breaking into accounts with weak passwords such as “mypassword” or “david123”. Very often, they’ll use algorithms to systematically crack weak passwords to get into your online banking, shopping and social accounts.
Using stronger, more complicated passwords is one of the best ways to stop criminals and fortify your online safety. The trick is to use a mix of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. For example, instead of using “david123” use “d4viD123!”.


Never post personal information online

Being able to interact with someone on the other side of the world via social media and forums is one of the greatest things about the internet.
On the flipside, the anonymous nature of the internet can be a threat to your online safety. You can never be too sure about who you’re talking to or who you’re sharing information with.
Because of this uncertainty, never, ever give out personal information online. Never share passwords, emails, your home address or phone numbers in forums or message boards.
You don’t want strangers turning up on your doorstep. And you definitely don’t want to open your bank account to find money’s gone missing!


Think twice about your social media posts

The world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social platforms allow you to express yourself to your friends and/or followers.
But keep in mind that once you post something it can never be taken down. Even if you delete posts, they remain on the servers of these social media companies forever.
The next time you want to post something, take an extra second to think about it. What are you communicating through your comment, photo, video or piece of audio? Where and how are you posting it? Can this post threaten your online safety?
Each social platform functions a little differently. Make sure you’re posting publicly, only when you want everyone to see it. And make sure private posts are made in private areas. It’d be horrible to post private material in a public area!


If it seems too good to be true, don’t believe it

A trend that has begun recently is for online criminals to email people with enticing offers. These emails often look like they’ve been sent by your local bank, local supermarket, a leading retailer and/or a recognisable brand.
They often have you click through to pages that ask you to submit personal details such as your name and phone number. They might even ask for the passwords to your online shopping accounts. All in exchange for a large cash prize.
The truth is, these are scams run by online criminals trying to get your data for nefarious reasons. If an offer seems too good to be true, just ignore it. If you’re not entirely sure and feel your online safety is at risk, give the sender a call to double check.