The number of internet security breaches just keeps rising, as criminals seem more determined than ever to break into computers and websites and steal as much information and data – often financial – as they can. This makes it all the more important to ensure you’re fully protected, at all times.

In fact, according to a new State of the Internet report, one type of attack commonly used by hackers to take down websites – distributed denial of service (DDoS) – has increased 57% since just one year ago.

Meanwhile, hacking groups are continuing to take over ordinary people’s computers to create a giant so-called “botnet”, which can be used for all kinds of nefarious purposes, including fraud and ticket touting. Your own PC could be part of such an operation right now and you wouldn’t even know it.

So what can you do to stay safe out there in the wild world of the net? For starters, make sure your machine has the two internet security basics, and that they’re operational (turned on). They are: firewall and antivirus software, and check that the latter is configured to either automatically update or do it manually, to counter the new threats that are constantly emerging. How do you know if your firewall is activated or not? If you’re running a version of Windows, you can easily do it in your Control Panel.

These steps may well protect your computer from malicious attacks but they’re not enough to stop criminals from trying to get access to your data and even your identity. The key to fully protecting yourself lies in a robust password. With news that the worst password of 2014, as named by SplashData, an internet security firm, was “123456” and that “password” is also in big use, it’s no wonder hackers are having such success. So use one that has a combination of letters (in uppercase and lowercase), numbers and symbols.

It’s certainly worthwhile getting your devices including phones and tablets – checked out now to make sure you’re secure and that all your valuable data is protected.

It is very straightforward to reset any email account passwords via your web hosting control panel. If you need any help, feel free to email us.