1. Get the latest anti-virus and firewall software

Download updates regularly to make sure you’re protected against any new online threats.

2. Update your internet browser

The latest versions have built-in protection against fake websites and viruses.

3. Create a strong and easy-to-remember password

Passwords that combine letters and numbers are generally harder to guess.

4. Use a different password to the one you use for other services

You should have a unique password for your HSBC Online Banking.

5. Change your password on a regular basis

It’s a good idea to change your password every month.

6. Never share your password

No HSBC employee will ever ask you for your password. If you receive a call or email from someone claiming to be from HSBC, ignore it and contact us immediately.

7. Don’t let your browser remember your log on details

It’s much safer to re-enter your details every time you log on, even if it takes slightly longer.

8. Look after your paper statements

Fraudsters can use information on paper statements to steal someone’s identity. You should always destroy your paper statements before throwing them away.

9. Learn to spot fake emails and websites

Criminals use them to con people into giving away passwords and bank details – the technical word is ‘phishing’.

10. Avoid online fraud and con tricks

To protect yourself and your money on the internet, look out for deals that look too good to be true.

An antivirus product is a program designed to detect and remove viruses and other kinds of malicious software from your computer or laptop.

Malicious software – known as malware – is code that can harm your computers and laptops, and the data on them. Your devices can become infected by inadvertently downloading malware that’s in an attachment linked to a dubious email, or hidden on a USB drive, or even by simply visiting a dodgy website.

Once it’s on your computer or laptop, malware can steal your data, encrypt it so you can’t access it, or even erase it completely. For this reason it’s important that you always use antivirus software, and keep it up to date to protect your data and devices.

How do antivirus products work?

Antivirus products work by detecting, quarantining and/or deleting malicious code, to prevent malware from causing damage to your device. Modern antivirus products update themselves automatically, to provide protection against the latest viruses and other types of malware.

Which antivirus product should I use?

Antivirus software is often included for free within the operating systems that run Windows and Apple computers. If you make sure that this built-in antivirus is switched on, you’ll instantly be safer.

New computers often come with a trial version of a separate antivirus product installed (such as McAfee, Norton and Avast). You should note that:

  • when the trial version expires, you’ll have to pay (or register) to continue using it
  • separate antivirus products won’t always work alongside the built-in antivirus software and could even stop it from working completely
  • with so many products available you may want to carry out your own research to find out which is right for you

How do I use my antivirus product?

  1. When you first install (or switch on) your antivirus product, run a full scan to make sure your computer is free of all known malware.
  2. Make sure your antivirus software is set to automatically scan all new files, such as those downloaded from the internet or stored on a USB stick, external hard drive, SD card, or other type of removable media.
  3. Make sure your antivirus software is set to receive updates automatically.


Do I need antivirus products on my smartphone and tablet?

No, provided that you only install apps and software from official stores such as Google Play and the Apple App Store. You should also set your apps (and the tablet/smartphone itself) to update automatically. For more information, read our blog covering antivirus for mobile phones.

We’ve covered the basics. Here’s a closer look at why you should consider using a VPN.

1. Security on Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is convenient but comes at the expense of security. When you’re answering emails at a local coffee shop or absent-mindedly scrolling through social media at the airport, someone may be tracking your online activity.

Using a VPN protects your data while you are on other networks, hiding your browsing history, banking information, account passwords and more from ill-intentioned internet strangers.

2. Data Privacy From Your Internet Service Provider

While connected to your home Wi-Fi, you are less likely to be attacked by strangers than on a public connection. However, your data is still vulnerable.

Your ISP or internet service provider—Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon or other company who you pay for Wi-Fi each month—can access all your internet data. Your ISP can see when, where and how you browse.

This data can be collected and sold to advertisers even if you’re using the “private” browsing function, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands in the case of a data breach. A VPN can help obscure your IP address from your own ISP.

3. Data Privacy From the Apps and Services You Use

Your ISP isn’t the only potential liability that you’ve brought into your own home. Unfortunately, many of our favorite apps and internet services—most notably Facebook—have been called out for the way they’ve used the data of their users.

A VPN will prevent apps and websites from attributing your behavior to your computer’s IP address. It can also limit the collection of your location and browser history.

4. Data Privacy From Your Government

While many ISPs, apps and internet data hubs suggest they don’t sell your browsing data to governments, the information nonetheless finds its ways into their hands—even in the U.S.

Since 2013, when Edward Snowden first revealed that Verizon had been selling users’ internet and phone data to the NSA, Americans have become more aware of the different ways the government surveils and collects their data. Following the Snowden leaks, and subsequent outrage, several laws were enacted to curb government surveillance.

However, as recently as January of this year, the Defense Intelligence Agency bypassed a law demanding that government agencies produce warrants before compelling phone companies for their user data by paying third-party data brokers for that same data, according to the New York Times.

If you have qualms about governmental overreach, a VPN is a good investment in protecting your data.

5. Access to Any Content in Any Place

While Hulu may frown upon your use of a VPN to stream the latest Criminal Minds episode in a country where the content isn’t offered, this VPN usage is not illegal (in the U.S. and in most countries), and it helps provide a useful workaround to content restrictions.

VPNs spoof your location, making it seem as if you are browsing from another place. That means you can get your Criminal Minds fix even if it’s not available locally.

6. Security When Working Remotely

One benefit of a VPN is its data encryption features. Encryption, or putting data into a coded format so its meaning is obscured, allows you to keep confidential information safe.

If you are an individual thinking about investing in a VPN for your company, one benefit is that workers can connect to your office network and look at sensitive materials on their own devices while away from the office. As remote work seems a possibility even after the pandemic ends, a VPN is a helpful investment to keep confidential material safe off-site.

7. Easy to Use

While we’d all love to add more security to our lives, some security devices and processes seem like more effort than they are worth for those who are tech adverse. VPNs, however, are easy to use. Several providers have created intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that make installation and use available to non-techies.

8. Adaptable to Numerous Smart Devices

While many of us may first try a VPN on a company-loaned laptop, many VPN services also protect other smart devices such as your phones, tablets and desktop computers. Each VPN company may offer slightly different protection plans and have different capacities to protect different devices, but many providers offer plans that help keep you safe on multiple devices.

9. Smart Savings

If you are willing to put in a little research, a VPN can help you save money via its location spoofing capabilities. Many types of businesses, such as subscription services and airlines, offer the same amenities or products for different prices. If you change the appearance of your location to a place where services are offered cheaper, you can end up with big savings.