Personal Cyber Security – Internet and Browsing

Want to take control of your personal cyber security while your on the internet and browsing? Read on to find out what you can do!

This follows on from my previous article where we look at your home network and your devices that you can find here

I’ve broken these down into categories to make it easier to read, if you have any comments please let me know here


Passwords are important in personal cyber security, there is going to be a lot in this section so please bear with me!


Diversify your passwords! Do not use the same password for every site you use, why does this matter?

If one website suffers a data breach and your password is dumped, they have every account you have.


The rule of thumb for this is a long strong password!

The idea here is you don’t want a password that would appear in a dictionary, in particular a dictionary of previosuly breached passwords.

Want to check if your password appears in these dictionaries?

HaveIBeenPwned has a password checker, type a password in and it tells you how many times that password has been breached.

Give it a try here

Have I been breached?

You need to check if you’ve been part of a breach, HaveIBeenPwned has you covered!

Try it here

Just put your email in and you will instantly know if any accounts have been breached. You can even sign up to their notify me service, its all free!

Don’t be predictable!

Do you love your pet that you post about on social media?

Do you love the company you work for?

Thats Awesome! But don’t use it as your password! Attackers have tools that build dictionaries to guess your password by “scraping” these from your social media or company website.

Not in writing

Hopefully, this goes without saying, but don’t write your password down in a text file or on paper!

If someone finds this, they have everything!

If you struggle to remember your passwords, Kaspersky includes a good password manager in their total security product. Consider having a look at password managers but always check and if your going to use one, choose a strong unique password as the master password.

The Dark Web

Yes, the Dark Web is a real thing!

There are marketplaces on there where you will find anything imaginable and this is also potentially where your passwords, personal information and credit card data is bought and sold.

This is accessible through a TOR browser but my advice would be don’t!

Unless you know exactly what your doing, don’t let your curiosity get the better of you!


I would always recommend a VPN!

If your using a public WiFi, its a must! VPN’s will keep you safe and will help prevent interception type attacks in public environments.

My recommendation would be Nord VPN (As always, I’m not sponsored by them!)

Nord VPN works on virtually every device including mobile phones and is extremely easy to use. Once installed its one button to connect!

Have a look at Nord here

Currently their offer at the time of writing is £43.66 for a years subscription. Also, should you need it, Nord VPN’s customer service is amazing from my personal experience!

Children and Online Security

Children can create a cyber security risk as well as becoming a target. It is unfortunate the world we live in and encourage anyone who uses the internet, help keep children safe online!

A good antivirus takes care of downloading something by accident, but this problem is minimal compared to the dangers that are online.

I wont be going into a full explanation of steps to take because if you want to know more, the NSPCC website has an amazing section on keeping kids safe that you can find here

My advice would always be to talk about it with them. Consider content filters, but these can be aggressive and overly restrictive out of the box so need some fine tuning.

When they set up accounts, set them up together, this gives you a great opportunity to talk about passwords and keeping them safe and setting secure passwords.

My final word about keeping kids safe online is not to use social media for children.

If you set your 5 year old up a Facebook account and lie about their age and say they are 13, when your child is 10, facebook thinks there an adult and no longer considered a childs account.

Basically, at 10, they can view everything and be found by anyone.

Your Bank Security Matters!

I am fortunate enough to have experience in the financial services industry and can tell you that your bank security definitely matters!

Ideally, choose a bank that gives you a card reader or some other form of login device.

Why does this matter? Because, it requires you to authenticate with something you have in order for your money to be moved!

But my bank sends a text or calls me with a code? If an attacker was targeting you with identity theft, they will just get your phone provider to issue a new sim card with your number on in order to receive those messages or calls. The telephone authentication for your online banking is not enough anymore. Choose a provider that gives you a card reader, that way to move money, you need your card and pin number to make the transfer.

Also, if your bank calls you to confirm transactions, be polite, but call them back. Give nothing over the phone if your bank call you. Sometimes they will call you, but its not worth the risk.

If your bank call you, take no action based on what that person is telling you, thank them for calling you and say you will review and be in touch. End the call and if on your mobile phone, call the number on the back of your card.

If your on your landline, make sure that the call is definitely disconnected and they haven’t stayed on the line. You can do this by either calling your mobile, or dialing 1471 in the uk and you will hear when you were last called, this verifies there is nobody on the line.

I can assure you, if that call was genuinely from your bank and you took those steps, they would not mind at all you calling them back.


I hope you came across some things in this article to think about, staying safe online doesn’t need to be a chore and building good habits can really save you later.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, these are just some of the things I’ve come across and will be publishing more in the future.

Any questions let me know!