Managing your money online is a lot easier nowadays. Most banks and building societies offer an online account and you can apply for new accounts through the web. And if you’re a Harrington Brooks debt management customer, you can check on your plan with My Online Account.

But is your money safe online? How can you make sure you’re managing your finances safely?

Today is Safer Internet Day, aimed at getting young people to use technology positively. It’s also a good opportunity for parents and other adults to think about how they use the internet.

With a focus on your security and your money, here are some tips on how to stay safe online.

How to stay safe online

Install antivirus protection.

Antivirus software helps stop dangerous software like malware if you do accidentally click on a dangerous link. Of course, you should still be careful and avoid clicking on unsafe links but it does add an extra level of protection.

If you’ve got a Windows 8 or Windows 10 PC, you’ll already have Windows Defender installed on your computer. This is free antivirus protection and can scan your computer for malware. You can also install other free antivirus programmes like Avast Free or Avira.

Install all updates.

If your computer or smartphone antivirus offers you an update, don’t put this off until later. Security updates can fix any weaknesses in your computer’s system – and it’s these weaknesses that can make your system vulnerable.

When a notification comes up to install an update, click to do this as soon as possible. If you’re in the middle of something, you can usually set updates to install overnight. Just click onto your Settings to see if this is possible.

Use a strong password.

Passwords offer protection between you and the hackers. That’s why you need to make sure all yours for your online accounts are as tough to crack as possible.

Don’t use an obvious password, like your partner, your child or your pet’s name. Instead, use a password strategy from Cyber Aware. You put together a password using three random words that are only meaningful to you. This makes it harder for anyone to guess your password but easy for you to remember.

Keep your smartphone locked.

Make sure you turn on the screen lock option for your smartphone or tablet. This means it will need a password, pin code, swipe pattern or fingerprint to unlock it.

Just like how it’s important to use strong passwords to stay safe online, screen lock codes or patterns should be strong too. Don’t use something that’s easy to guess, like 1111 or an L-shaped swipe pattern.

Be careful of links in emails.

You should always be wary of suspicious emails, and don’t click on any links in them. If you do, this could lead to malware on your computer or you could land on a site that tries to steal your bank details.

Even if an email looks like it’s from someone you know but it’s a message you weren’t expecting, check with the person through another method. This will help you work out if the email is legitimate.

For more tips on how to stay safe online this Safer Internet Day, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.