How to stay safe on the internet

Derrick Myers

Blog posted

25th January 2019 Resident Blogger

Helpful Information, Retirement VillagesI have been using computers for over 40 years and I have, as many computer users have, been subjected to a few challenges from people wanting to gain access to my computer.

In this my second ‘Blog’ I would like to give you some advice on being safe on the Internet. (In Elmbridge Village we have an Intranet) for those not aware, this is embedded or ‘ring fenced’ within the Retirement Villages network giving us in Elmbridge Village a higher level of security than if we were using the open Internet.

There are a few basic rules which I follow, and which I will share with you knowing that many of you send and receive emails and shop online, the following might help.

Points to note for anyone using the internet:

  1. Never open an email from a sender whose name you do not recognise. Delete it……If it is genuine, the sender will send it again or contact you by phone.
    Opening it could give the rogue sender (scammer) the opportunity to see information on your computer without you knowing.
  2. While on the issue of opening an email, a further and more dangerous action would be if the email requests you to click on a LINK provided, or open an ATTACHMENT, these would most certainly open the door for the scammer to invade your private information and possibly take control and sometimes demand money.
  3. Never give any information on your Bank details to any request from an online enquiry. Banks do not request information without observing very strict rules. Banks will never give you classified information on the telephone. You will normally receive this by ordinary mail, codes or instructions or in some cases a special card reader for you to maintain both yours and the Banks security.
  4. Be aware that using the same password to access different areas of the Internet is not advisable. Taking this easy way out means that any other person can also have access to that same information should they discover your password. A “Tip” here, is you only need to make subtle changes to a password (changing a couple of letters for numbers) to make the password different and stronger. You can also use certain symbols in your password.
  5. Also while on passwords, choosing a mixture of lower and upper case letters is another method to add difficulty to anyone trying to access your information.
  6. Most of us older generation have short term memories and while being able to remember things in the distant past, sometimes we have lapses with short term memories. Do keep a record of passwords, but be careful where you store them, probably in a couple of places might be a good idea, but not on the computer.

The last six points are worth noting as straight forward actions to help you remain safe on the internet. Another would be to install antivirus software on your computer to stop computer viruses gaining access to your computer.

One final point, scammers have techniques to get between you and another organisation, having achieved this they then email you pretending to be that organisation. If there is money in your transaction you could lose it all, so please be vigilant and be sure the company you are dealing with is who you think they are.

As I mentioned at the beginning, here in Elmbridge Village we are lucky to have an extra level of security provided by the Retirement Villages Internet system.

So please do be careful, but enjoy the technology, it has many interesting features.