Most family homes are connected to the internet, ours most definitely is. In a world packed with technology we rely on devices such as our mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smart speakers and a whole lot more, including smart televisions, smarts fridges and smart light bulbs. We entertain ourselves online by streaming movies and television box sets, we play games online, we order food and clothes online, we pay our bills online and we now even speak to our GP online. We do so much online that data is now a very valuable commodity and that means ID theft and cybercrime are a real worry. If you become a victim of cybercrime or ID theft it can cause a lot of problems, including possible financial loss, lots of stress, and can take a lot of time to sort out.
Then there is the worry that with so much available at the click of a button, what are the kids actually looking at when they are online? Take a look at a majority of teenagers today and it looks like they have a mobile phone surgically implanted into their hand (I feel that sore necks will become a big medical issue in the future), what can they possibly be looking at for such lengths of time?
A lot of people don’t think of the dangers around the internet or think that they won’t have any problems. But it is a big problem, something that everybody should be aware of and an issue that everybody should do all they can to minimise the risks.
Keeping your data private as much as you can is a must, never give out usernames and passwords to any online accounts unless it is absolutely necessary (no genuine company or organisation should be asking for your passwords or over the phone). Don’t click on links in emails unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine (if unsure, visit the website yourself or give them a call). When filling in forms online try to give only the bare minimum (for example if date of birth is optional, don’t fill it in).
There are also lots of internet security software packages that you can use to add an extra level of protection to your online activities, and we have been using F-Secure SAFE – an internet security program that features:
- ANTIVIRUS – Keep your devices safe with real-time protection against viruses, trojans, ransomware, and spyware.
- RANSOMWARE PROTECTION – Stay ahead of online criminals and protect yourself from the increasing amount of ransomware.
- BANKING PROTECTION – Automatic security measures secure your online banking and payments by letting you know when you enter a safe banking site and keeps your money safe by securing the connection to the site.
- BROWSING PROTECTION – Prevents you from accidentally connecting to harmful websites, allowing you and your family to safety browse the internet.
- PARENTAL CONTROL – Keep your children safe from harmful content and moderate their screen time. Easily block of allow websites.
- GAMING MODE – Enjoy protected gaming and streaming on Windows computers with uncompromised performance.
SAFE features full antivirus facilities, scanning and monitoring for viruses and ransomware, automatically blocking and removing anything that it finds. It also features parental controls that allow you to block websites that you come across that you don’t want accessed (gambling sites, porn, or you could always block YouTube if you think that the kids are spending far too much time on it). You can also add websites to the allowed list if they are inadvertently blocked for whatever reason. This will give you much more control over what the kids can view. Websites that try to steal personal information or trick you out of your money are automatically blocked. It will also allow you to manage screen time so that the kids are not using the control for too long.
As it is full online protection, SAFE also features online banking protection. A large majority people do some form of online banking and whilst the sites themselves are generally very safe and secure, extra protection is a bonus. With SAFE installed and running, when you visit your online banking portal all other untrusted connections are severed so that there should be nothing running that can spy on your banking activities.
Whilst SAFE happily runs in the background, for gamers, when you enter game mode all scheduled scans and virus updates will automatically pause (unless you turn this feature off) to free up resources to give the best possible gaming experience.
Overall, we have found that using F-Secure SAFE for family online protection when on the internet is very easy and fast, making surfing the web a much less stressful task. It helps to reduce the risk of online data theft, although you still have to have some common sense and not give out usernames, passwords and other personal details, prevents getting a virus or ransomware that can cause all sorts of damage and helps manage what website can and can’t be visited and how long we stay online.
The software is very simple to install, set up and use as for the most part it just sits in the background unnoticed and doesn’t seem to slow down the PC. It is an excellent fuss-free way of protecting yourself, your children, banking and all that all-important data whilst online. At £59.99 for 12 months subscription that covers up to 3 devices it is a small price to for peace of mind when on the internet.
SAFE is a fast and easy to use piece of software that makes using the internet much safer for ALL the family.
RRP: £59.99 (12 months subscription for 1-3 devices)
For more information or to buy, visit www.f-secure.com.