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Keeping yourself safe online

In today’s world, where most of our personal and professional lives have moved online, it is more important than ever to protect our digital identities. Here are some tips to keep you safe online.  

Use two-step verification 

Two-factor authentication (2SV) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide two forms of identification before accessing your account. This can be a combination of: 

  • something you know, such as your password  
  • something you have, such as a verification code sent to your phone 

Enabling 2SV is an easy and effective way to protect your accounts from unauthorised access. Most online systems will tell you how to enable 2SV in your ‘account settings’.  

Strong passwords 

Creating a strong password is crucial to securing your account.  

Instead of using words that are personal to you, such as your name, date of birth, or pet’s name, use a combination of three random words. For example, ‘watertablezebra’. This will make it harder for hackers to guess your password.  

If you want to check the strength of your password, you can use ‘haveibeenpwned’ password checker. 

Original passwords 

Reusing the same password for multiple accounts can be risky. If a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, they can use that password to break into your other accounts as well.  

To protect yourself, it is best to use a different password for each account. Your accounts can be compromised in various ways, but one common method is through a company’s data breach.  

To see if your email address has been involved in any known data breaches, you can use ‘haveibeenpwned.’ Change the passwords for any email accounts that have been compromised. 

Use a password manager 

A password manager securely stores all your passwords and can even fill them in automatically when you need to log in. This makes it simpler to manage multiple passwords without having to remember them all.

With a password manager, you can use strong passwords for all your accounts without needing to reset them every time.  

You will only need to remember one long and strong password to access your password manager. There are many free password managers available, so you do not need to worry about paying for one. 

Hacked accounts 

If you suspect that your account has been hacked or compromised: 

  • change your password immediately. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, change it for all of them.  
  • check your account settings to make sure there are no unauthorised changes.  
  • enable two-factor authentication if it is not already on 

More information

Visit the NCSC website for resources and information about protecting yourself, your family, your devices and your business online.

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