Week 1 of Cyber Security Month is all about the Simple Steps to Online Safety. Everyone can benefit from these steps and checklist. It might be simple, but it can help a protect you from being a possible target for cyber criminals.
For many of us, technology has been integrated into our physical lives. In this day and age, being safe online isn’t just loading an antivirus and trusting that single line of defence. Personal cyber-attacks also happen. When it comes to online security, knowledge and and being aware of the possible threats out there can help you be safe.
Let’s look at some of the simple steps we can take to be safer online.
Social media these days tend to be a digital diary of what is going on in our lives. Do we know who sees our posts? Review your privacy settings to make sure that unwanted people do not see your posts. Many predators use this as a way of preying on a possible victim. They use emotion and a false sense of trust to get sensitive information. Some may even go the lengths of using scare tactics and false information such as blackmail, to get your information. This is called social engineering, where cyber criminals use emotion and false trust to get you to give sensitive information without you realizing it.
Another form of Social engineering that we might of heard of is Phishing (pronounced as fishing). Yes, as the name says, it is like fishing. Just like in fishing, we use bait to lure the fish and then hook it. In the same way, phishing mainly consist of an email (bait) that looks familiar and trust worthy, then we trust is, pass on information and get hooked. Many of these look so legitimate, it sometimes takes a couple of moments to register that this in fact is a phishing scam. Always check the email addresses that emails come from. The name might appear to be legit, but what about the domain?
Passwords. So we have a password. Is that enough? A simple step to be safe online is keep your password to yourself. Duplicating a password across multiple accounts seem like a simple way not to forget any login credentials, but this also is a jackpot if you do get hacked. Most accounts allow 2-Factor Authentication. Do you have this active? This is a second line of defence and a notification that suspicious activity might be happening on your account.
How secure is your phone or tablet? Being online has become more easier. We just pull out our smartphone or tablet, and log in to everything we need at our fingertips. Keeping our devices secure is a must. Regularly update your devices Operating systems and apps. Many of us also hoard apps. Remove un-used apps. This will also help clearing up some storage space. As much as your phone might always be with you, it is a device that connects to the internet as is a potential target as well.
Keep your devices password protected. If your device has biometric security, activate it. Lock your device when not in use or activate the auto-lock function. This simple checks will help should you misplace or should your device get stolen. We can never be too cautious.
With so much information and data, we tend sometimes trust technology a bit too much. We should backup our data and information. We can do this locally (on a device) or backup onto a cloud. This security measure is important and can be a life saver should you become a victim on cyber crimes.
Lets have a small recap. What are the simple steps we can take to be more secure online?
- Be aware and careful on social platforms
- Do not trust, open or download suspicious emails
- Keep passwords safe.
- Use 2-Factor Authentication
- Keep Passwords Unique
- Update mobile devices and remove un-used apps.
- Use passcodes or biometric access on mobile
- Back up data.
It is important to make sure everyone is aware of the risks and dangers present on the internet. We need to adopt a simply policy of, “If you’re not sure, don’t click”.