Are you and your family safe online?

Are you constantly using your computer, tablet or smart-phone to access the Internet? It can be a lot of fun and there are many great benefits, but we also need to be aware of the many threats to your personal safety and privacy online.

We've compiled a list of tips to help ensure your experiences on electronic devices to complete tasks, such as paying bills or even accessing your MyGov account, are secure from predators or hackers seeking your personal information, your identity, or even attempting to meet up with you in person.

1. Exercise caution in chat rooms

Chat rooms and forums such as Reddit, Tinder and Meetup are all places to meet new people and discuss various topics online, however, you should exercise caution when using them.

Chat rooms can be dangerous for two main reasons. Firstly, you can never really be sure who you're talking to. Secondly, it is easy for someone to gather extensive personal information on you if you're having ongoing conversations. What may seem like friendly chat could actually be the beginnings of online identity theft or a predatory attack waiting to happen, so be careful.

If you choose to meet up with someone you've been chatting to online, there are a few precautions you should take. Always tell someone where you're going and who you are meeting, meet in a public place, and have the Safe Haven App downloaded on your phone. That way if you feel uncomfortable or threatened at any time, help is just a button press away.

2. Don't use the same password for multiple accounts

When using your computer, you'll have several accounts that require a username and password, such as your iTunes account and your online banking account. These accounts hold significant personal information that need to be protected from access.

One way you can prevent others from accessing your accounts and personal information is by ensuring you use a number of different passwords. By having a unique password for each account, it makes it significantly harder for people to login to your accounts, thus preventing unapproved access and potential leaking of information.

3. Delete Internet history and cookies on a regular basis

Deleting cookies on your computer helps improve privacy by keeping websites from tracking your activity. If you keep cookies stored on your computer, another person can potentially act as you on a website, as cookies keep usernames and passwords saved for certain webpages.

4. Keep your security software current

Out of date software can make your computer susceptible to viruses and potential hacking. Like all technology, Internet threats evolve. Your security software needs to be consistently updated to defend your computer and personal information from such threats. Set your security software to update automatically so you don't have to worry about it.

5. Exercise caution when connecting to public WiFi hotspots

Many bars, restaurants, cafes and public spaces now offer free WiFi. Being able to scroll through facebook as you enjoy your cup of coffee is a big plus, however there is a downside to logging into public WiFi. Free WiFi hotspots require no authentication to establish a network connection, meaning hackers get unfettered access to unsecured devices on the same network. Avoid completing tasks that involve highly sensitive information, such as online banking, when using public WiFi. Also, it's a good idea to keep your WiFi off when you're walking around and don't need it.

With so many people online, it can be a dangerous place. The personal information you share and people you talk to can become potential threats in the real world. For every digital situation that escalates into a scenario where you feel your safety is in danger, such as online stalker coming to your home or work, the Safe Haven App is just a button press away.