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We all love having shiny new tech – but before you start streaming, surfing or shopping, it’s crucial to follow these online security tips from F-Secure

By Virgin Media

Did you find any tech under the Christmas tree? Or perhaps treat yourself to a new tablet or laptop for the new year? While receiving the latest smartphone, tablet or computer can be exciting, it’s not without risks. Usually, the default settings of a new device offer very little protection in cyber security.


Connecting your new product to the internet without taking security precautions could leave you open to hacking, cyberattacks and malware – all of which puts your devices, data, and privacy at risk. But we’re here to help so you can enjoy your shiny new toy without worry.


Read on for six simple ways to protect your new devices and discover more about the award-winning Virgin Media Internet Security powered by F-Secure.


Pick a password that can’t easily be guessed, even by someone who knows you. Replace letters with numbers and punctuation to help deter attackers, or even try a passphrase. The more original the choice the better and make sure it’s one you don’t use anywhere else.


Things to avoid:

  • Guessable answers, e.g. your address, mother’s maiden name or pet
  • Identifiable information, e.g. your birth year
  • Easy number combinations, e.g. 1234
  • Repetition – you should use a different password across all your accounts
  • Something too short – most services require a password between 8-16 characters


Why do I need a unique password?

Passwords are there to help protect you if an entire service, app, or site is hacked. It’s important that your password is strong, so you won’t be hacked personally. Given the many important accounts most of us have, it can get difficult managing all our data. Consider using a password manager from a reputable cyber security provider which will help you to manage your accounts.


If your smartphone or other cellular device is ever stolen, the police will likely ask for your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). It’s a unique 15-digit code that precisely identifies your phone. You can find it on the box, on the battery or in its settings. Taking a small step to make a note of this somewhere safe can really help if anything happens to your phone.


Follow these steps to find your device’s IMEI:


Apple devices

  • Go to Settings > General, then tap About
  • Scroll down to IMEI and you’ll find the number listed


Android devices

  • Open the Settings app, then tap About Phone
  • Scroll down to IMEI and you’ll find the number listed


It’s often the photos and videos on our devices that are more important than the device itself. Automatically backing up your contents to another platform such as iCloud will keep your memories safe. Use the service your mobile platform offers or a third-party, so you don’t have to worry about losing your photos or videos.


Not sure how to get started? Follow these quick and easy steps:


Apple devices

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup
  • Turn on iCloud Backup
  • iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when iPhone is connected to power, locked, and connected to WiFi
  • To perform a manual backup, tap Back Up Now


Android devices

  • On your Android phone, open the Google One app
  • Tap Storage, then scroll to the device backup section
  • Tap Set up data backup. Follow any steps on the screen
  • To find your backup settings, tap Manage backup. To back up your media in the best quality, turn on Full resolution photos & videos


Many new devices will require regular updates. This is because manufacturers and application developers constantly update their code to fix security weaknesses and bugs. Enable settings on your devices to automatically apply updates, fixing any identified weaknesses in the operating system or applications.


Don’t know how to update your phone’s software? Follow these steps for common devices:


Apple devices

  • Back up your device using iCloud or your computer
  • Plug your device into a power source and connect to the internet with WiFi to avoid eating into your data allowance
  • Go to Settings > General, then tap Software Update
  • If you see two software update options available, choose the one you want to install
  • Tap Install Now. If you see Download and Install instead, tap it to download the update, enter your passcode, and then tap Install Now

Android devices

  • Go to Settings > Security.
  • Check if a security update is available by tapping Google Security Check-Up. To check if a Google Play system update is available, tap Google Play System Update.
  • Follow any steps on the screen


One of the brilliant features on modern devices is the range of apps available. Avoid using your browser to access services such as Twitter – download the official app instead. These have built-in encryption technology which protects your device from nasty cyber-attacks. Stick to the official stores of your mobile platform and check user reviews to make sure the apps you’re downloading are safe.


It’s also important to delete apps you’re not using, so that you’re not missing any vital updates, improving your device’s performance and keeping enough storage space free. You can also check if an app needs updating in your App Store account.


Up-to-date security software is a must on all your devices. Virgin Media Internet Security protects all your smartphones, tablets, and computers, and includes features like Browsing and Banking Protection that keeps you from landing on fake banking sites designed to steal your private information. Virgin Media Internet Security also offers Family Protection so you can set the same sort of digital boundaries for your kids that you set in the real world.


Find out more about Virgin Media Internet Security

To help protect against online threats, all Virgin customers can get Virgin Media Internet Security for all the family’s smartphones, tablets, or computers. You can try it obligation free for the first 3 months as payment details are taken at the end of the trial period. After that, it’s just £3 per month (or £30 a year).


To get protected today, simply register here, then install Virgin Media Internet Security on all your devices.


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Registration and installation required. Once you have registered for Virgin Media Internet Security, you will receive an email from F-Secure to install the app onto your devices (check your junk folder). The 3 months trial is only available once per Virgin customer. For use in one household, personal use only, devices that the account holder owns, not for business use, not permitted to sell licenses. Unlimited devices, after the first 15 devices will need to be registered via F‑Secure. £3 per month or annual subscription for £30.