Cyber Security Tips
We can all use some Cyber Security Tips and unless you completely live off the grid – don’t have an ATM (cashpoint) card, a credit card, a smartphone, a computer, a TV and never go online – then cyber security is something you must be aware of. While there is no guaranteed way to protect yourself there are a number of things you can and must do to minimize the chances of falling prey to cyber criminals so we’ve put together these Cyber Security Tips for you.
Below are some Cyber Security Tips to help you stay safe..
This may seem obvious but most people actually choose passwords that are very easy to guess. Believe it or not, the most common password is ‘123456’, closely followed by ‘password’. And don’t sit there feeling smug because you used your daughter’s birthday, your pet’s name or your favorite sport – they’re just as easy to crack. A 10 year old could it.
Advice: Use at least 8 characters – include symbols, capital letters, numbers and preferably a made up word. Realistically no one can remember 324 passwords so we advise doing things like grouping them by using one password for social media, one for online banking and one for online shopping etc. And we don’t advise taping them to your computer screen, keeping them in your wallet or putting them in your desk drawer.
Come on, really, you didn’t just win $100,000, the ex finance minister of Banana Republic’s grandson doesn’t need your help getting money out of the country (he took it ages ago) and you don’t have a long lost relative who’s left you $2 million dollars. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Likewise, banks don’t send emails asking you to verify your account by ‘clicking on this link’ or ‘signing’ an attached form.
Whether it’s a pop up on a web page or an email from an unknown person – DO NOT click the link and DO NOT open the attachment.
Lock your screens
Pretty obvious but so many of us don’t do it. If you’re not on your computer, tablet or smartphone, set it to auto lock after a few minutes. Not doing this is like going out and leaving your front door unlocked – which most of us I think would agree is not a good idea – unless of course you live off grid on a remote island.
Operating System &
This is mission critical. You need to be patched, up to date and secure at all times. This is simply not optional anymore. You also need to be wary of software popping up on your computer or online (or scammers on the phone) pretending to do those updates. All they’re doing is installing rogue malware and spyware on your computer and setting themselves up to steal your hard earned money or use your computer (without your knowledge) to attack other computers and steal other people’s money.
Everyone must have anti-virus software on all their devices – yes that includes smart phones and tablets – and yes that includes Apple users – that bubble was burst years ago (Macs were safer when no one used them, now that so many people do have them they are a tempting target as well and increasing daily). Free anti-virus protection is of course better than nothing but just think about it, why would the same company sell anti-virus software? Yup, it’s dumbed down and not as up to date, basically last year’s model which in today’s world is far too late. You need to purchase proper anti-virus software, preferably cloud based as updates are faster.
Mobile Phone Security is often overlooked but it is arguably the weakest security point. Our nobile phones are used every day and are basically small mobile computers. They’re used for everything from banking, shopping, email and socialising to surfing the net and taking pictures. Our lives are on our mobile phones and it is inexcusable to not have have proper anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-phishing security software on it.
No matter what we do, something may still happen. It could be as simple as a cup of coffee spilled on the computer or cryptolocker – the one that encrypts your data and demands a ransom from you if you want it back. That’s your photos, music and important documents gone for good – unless of course you’re backed up (with versioning or incremental updating). Backing up is no longer just a smart thing to do, it’s a necessity as our lives are now digital.