Practise safe browsing

Make sure your internet connection is secure. Most websites now use HTTPS – if you can see the full website address in your browser, then this will appear at the beginning, or a padlock or shield symbol may be shown. The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for secure, meaning that the website uses an encrypted connection, which makes it harder for someone to intercept or spy on what you’re doing. This is particularly important for online banking, shopping, email, your DMU account and social media sites.

Should I use public Wi-Fi hotspots?

If you are using a Wi-Fi hotspot in a public place, such as a café, you can’t always be sure who actually controls the connection. As a result, it’s possible for someone else to access what you’re doing online while you’re connected to the hotspot, including your private login details and web services that you use.

It’s best to use your mobile network (4G or 5G) when out and about, and if you need to connect a laptop or tablet, use a USB wireless dongle or ‘tethering’ – so your mobile phone provides a secure individual Wi-Fi connection just for you.

If you really must use a public hotspot, you can improve security with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which encrypts your data before sending it over the internet, whether it’s web browsing or any software apps that communicate online. There are many VPNs available but the best and most reputable ones will be independently verified for their security resilience and almost always charge a small subscription fee (free VPNs may be riskier).  

Is the site or app safe?

Be careful about where you enter your personal or financial details and about what you download. Make sure that the site or source is trustworthy – this includes software for your computer and mobile apps. Third party software and files from unscrupulous or compromised websites could contain malware, or a site could be trying to steal valuable personal data.  

Links to fraudulent and malicious sites will sometimes appear in emails, social media posts, online adverts or sponsored search engine results. Your device’s operating system will normally warn you if you are trying to access a file or app that may be harmful but you should always be wary before downloading or entering personal details. 

Keep your web browsers updated to the latest versions so that any security bugs are patched automatically. Also keep an eye on the security and privacy settings offered by browsers and services that you may use so you can protect as much personal information as possible.  

Google doesn’t just index the contents of webpages, it also checks whether a site is safe and shows warnings on its search pages and in web browsers. If you are ever in any doubt, you can check a specific web address with Google’s Safe Browsing search


Get Safe Online – Safe Internet Use