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go to advice on staying safe online
Common mistakes and assumptions people make about using the Internet.
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Here we are going to look at some of the more common misconceptions and falsehoods that many people believe and pass onto others.

Online criminals are more than happy for these misconceptions to continue as it gives them lots of opportunities to exploit people's basic lack of understanding.

You don't need to be a computer expert to understand what is going on here! After all, you wouldn't let someone into your house without them being able to show you proof of who they are would you?


MYTH 1: Online criminals won’t be interested in me – they’re to busy targeting big companies.

Online criminals figured out a long time ago that it doesn’t take much effort to target ordinary people. They are a comparatively ‘easy touch’ and though the rewards might be comparatively small, these small amounts add up and it is far easier and less noticeable than trying to steal from the big company’s.

MYTH 2: If I stay away from obviously ‘dodgy’ websites (like porn sites) I will be fine.

Online criminals have got really clever. They know most people don’t visit such sites so if they want to expand their activities they need to target legitimate websites - often adding malicious content with the owners of the legitimate website completely unaware of what is happening until it’s too late.

MYTH 3: I won’t have a problem! I just browse websites - As I don't download content I will be safe.

There is just a single grain of truth here - BUT criminals are smart!

Not everything you see on the internet works quite as you think it should!

For example, those annoying pop up boxes that say “Click OK to download”.

Of course, we are all far to smart now to fall for that old trick!

We know pop can be a potential threat so rather than clicking on the OK button we click on the little X in the top right hand corner of the pop up box – because that’s how to shut them down right?

Well no actually, because in many cases that little X may have been programmed NOT to just make the annoying pop up box go away BUT at the same time to download all sorts of nasty content onto your computer that you aren’t aware of until it’s too late.

MYTH 4: My computer will contain nothing of value to a criminal.

Are you really sure? Everyday data we store such as a contacts list of friend’s and families addresses and email details is of interest to them.

Have you bought off ebay? Shopped online? Ordered takeaway pizza? Asked for an insurance quote online or registered your details through a website?

If you have done any of these you will have registered some of your personal information and probably created a password or two in the process?

Criminals love such information. Once they have them they can exploit them in ways that you may not have even have thought of.

MYTH 5: I don't have to worry because...

• My computer has its own firewall I must be safe!
• I have anti-virus software so of course I am safe!
• My computer / operating system isn’t one of the popular ones so I will be safe!

Yes, of course these will ‘help’ to keep you safe BUT don’t just count on these things doing the job for you!

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