Advice on Internet fraud and Password protection

Keep your passwords protected

The internet is becoming more and more vital in everyday life, and whether you like it or not, it’s becoming almost unavoidable not to have online accounts for banking, shopping and everyday admin. In fact, recent figures show that 77% of adults in the UK now shop online and 63% use internet banking.

As online accounts increase, it’s estimated that the average internet user now has 26 passwords to remember making it increasingly difficult to remember them all. It is important however, to ensure that you are not consistently using the same passwords, and that you make your passwords difficult to hack.

Top tips to secure your password

To help you minimise the potential risk of hackers here are some  useful tips to make your password as safe as possible:

  1. Use different passwords for all online accounts you enroll with. This way, should one of your accounts be compromised, none of your other accounts will be
  2. Consider using passphrases rather than passwords as they are less likely to be broken by brute force. A passphrase, for example, would be three random words with four or more letters i.e. “H0rseRainb0wPaul”

What are the 10 most common passwords?

Using numbers and symbols in your passwords can help increase their strength, but you still need to remember that using generic sequences can be just as easy to hack.

You might be surprised to see the simplicity of the top 10 most common passwords:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. 12345678
  5. 111111
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234567
  8. password
  9. 123123
  10. 987654321

Although these passwords will be easy for the account holder to remember and therefore reduce the likelihood of having to be regularly reset, they aren’t secure.

Security tips to protect you from internet fraud:

  • Never access a link that has been provided in an email and enter personal details
  • Always ensure there is a padlock displayed in the bottom right hand corner of the page, this indicates a secure connection

 Keep your PC secure

  • Use up to date security software and a personal firewall and if your computer uses the Microsoft Windows operating system, keep it updated from the Microsoft website
  • Be extra careful if using Internet cafes, chat rooms and social networking sites or any PC which is not your own and over which you have no control (fraudsters often use them to try and access personal information)
  • Stay with the computer: When you are browsing through any internet browser do not keep the computer unattended for any period of time
  • Clear history and temporary files: Internet Explorer and other browsers save pages that you’ve visited in the History folder and in Temporary Internet collection. Your password is also saved if that system is activated on your computer so do the following before you start browsing:
    1. For Internet Explorer : Go to Tools / Internet Options
    2. For Firefox : Go to Tools / Options / Privacy Tab
  • Click the Content tab then click AutoComplete. If the checkboxes for passwords are selected, deselect them. Click OK twice

Check your statement

Ensure you check your current statement at regular intervals. If you notice anything irregular contact your bank/building society immediately

Other things to remember

Always remember your password and other security information and destroy the notification letters immediately

Always take reasonable steps to ensure your PINS and passwords are kept secret at all times