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Created on 06.05.2019 | Updated on 12.10.2020

11 tips for your online security

How secure is all our confidential data that's whizzing around online? Is there even any such thing as privacy in a digital world and how can we safeguard it? These questions are vitally important, particularly in the financial sector.

Why is online security so important? Online security is becoming increasingly important as we use more and more new technologies, carry out more digital transactions, such as online shopping, and in doing so disclose more of our personal information . Many apps, programs, and even objects, such as refrigerators, watches and other devices connected to the Internet of Things, use our personal information, for example, when making purchases on our behalf.

In a world that is more and more interconnected, there are a few things we should take note of – especially when it comes to our financial information. What do we need to bear in mind with IT security? How is sensitive financial information protected?

These 11 tips will help you answer this question and increase your online security.

Use strong passwords

The first tip of having a secure password may seem obvious, but it’s something that cannot be underestimated. There’s a lot you can get wrong when choosing a secure password, such as always using the same password or never changing it. If you have a strong password, you’ve already won half the battle when it comes to being secure online. The stronger and more complex your passwords are, the more effective the protection will be for your email, e-banking and any other logins. So make sure you never use the same password in two places.

The important thing is to use a new password that is as complex as possible for each login. This is easier, for example, when you form sentences and use only the first letters of each word and numbers to generate the password.  That way, it is easier to remember complicated passwords. Pass-phrases are also a good option. This involves a password made up of complete sentences rather than individual words, greatly increasing login security.

Use a password manager

To ensure you don’t lose track of all your passwords, we recommend using a password manager. If you do this, you will only have to remember one password instead of several. Each password is stored in an encrypted database, and a password for each app is also generated there. If this is not possible, you could also work with a separate password generator that can create your passwords entirely at random. There are several free programs you can use to do this. Another benefit is that your passwords can be even more complicated because you won’t have to remember them.

Delete your browser data

You probably visit several websites every day, where information about your user behaviour accumulates all too easily on servers. You should delete your browser history and cookies on a regular basis, as this will wipe away your digital footprint to a certain extent and help protect your personal data.

Use private browsing mode

By surfing the net in private browsing mode, you make it harder for websites to trace your activities, which is usually done through cookies. Most traditional browsers have a form of private mode. In Google Chrome, for example, it is known as an incognito window, but Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer also offer similar options. 

Be careful with the links you receive

Be careful whenever you receive links in e-mails or on social networking sites. You should always enter URLs for online banking manually, so you can be sure you reach the right site. Cyberattacks are especially common in finance. 

Use an encrypted URL

If you are sharing confidential information, always make sure you use an encrypted connection to do so. How do you do that? If the URL starts with “https” and there is a little lock symbol next to the address, your connection is encrypted. These websites provide a higher level of protection against cyberthreats than websites without a lock symbol or an “s” after “http”.

Use your personal devices

It makes no difference whether you’re logging in to e-banking using your computer, a smartphone or your tablet. What matters is that you use a personal device to do so rather than, say, a public PC. Don’t leave your laptop lying around unattended, and activate password protection – even if you’re just off to grab a quick coffee.

Delete all your personal data in the event of theft

If you lose your smartphone or computer, or if one of your devices is stolen, you must delete all the data. You can do this remotely, as long as the device is connected to the Internet. It is also advisable to reset all your passwords after such an incident, because your logins may still be stored somewhere. When you create a new password, make sure you follow the tips for setting a secure password at the beginning of this article.  

Implement updates

It may be tedious to run software updates, but it will allow you to surf the Internet securely. Updates often close security loopholes that have been detected or fix faults. If you install the latest updates, your security will generally improve.

Tech companies regard unpatched systems – the technical term for systems which have not been updated – as one of the main causes of cyberattacks. Of course, this does require the manufacturer to provide updates. If you’ve noticed that maybe your Android smartphone has not been updating itself automatically for quite a while, check if there is any other way to get the updates it has missed. 

Avoid public networks

Even if public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient. If you are connected to a public network, you should try to avoid the following activities if at all possible:

  • Accessing e-mails or saving your e-mail address for logging in
  • Online shopping
  • Logging in to online banking – or any platform that requires your password

Protect yourself with antivirus programs

Above all, make sure you install an antivirus program and update it regularly, especially if you are not using iOS devices.

As useful and amazing as the Internet might be, it still presents risks – especially when it comes to the security of your personal information. However, if you are careful on the Internet and follow these eleven tips, that will help you stay secure. You can find more information on this topic on our page about security.

Your security is a top priority for PostFinance. If you still suffer damages despite this, PostFinance will cover them up to a value of CHF 100,000. Find out more about damage cover on our page about e-finance at PostFinance.

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