With the latest global cyber attack taking control of websites across the world, here are some important tips to help you stay secure.
1 – Always Remember – You are a target to hackers
No matter how secure you think your system is, hackers relish the challenge of a secure system, so why make it easy for them?
2 – Updates, Updates, Updates
You might feel that it is a chore to update your software with updates and patches coming along on what can often seem like a daily basis.
Security patches are issued for a reason, usually a vulnerability has been discovered and the weakness fixed.
Keep your software up to date with the latest upgrades and patches, always install the latest security updates for your devices. If you can, turn on automatic updates for your operating system.
3 – Username: Admin, Password: Password – Whaaaaaat!
Ok, so you have a social network, the usual Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts as well as your online banking, blog, and a multitude of your favourite online shopping sites.
Too many passwords to manage? Well, lets just use the one, that makes things easier. Right?… WRONG!!
If it’s easier for you, it’s easier for the hacker too.
Generate strong passwords with a mix of numbers, letters and caps and update them regularly.
And don’t ever use your name in your password, (believe me, it happens all too often)
4 – Time for a cheeky latté?
We all love our tablets, & smartphones. How did we ever we ever get through the working day without them?
Ensuring their security should be high on your list of hacker prevention.
Coffee shop culture is part of our everyday life; they have become our offices, meeting rooms and chill-out spaces.
Never leave your devices unattended, because they’ll definitely get lonely, but if you happen to abandon that laptop to refill your Americano, use a lock screen.
It’s no good to anyone if they can’t access it.
For laptops and desktops, shut it down / lock it down when you are away from the screen.
5 – Avoid Phishing scams – beware of suspicious emails and phone calls
So there you are… all snuggled up with a nice cuppa and ready to watch your favourite box set and then the phone rings…
“Hi, I’m calling from you bank XYZ, we have noticed some suspicious activity on your account and would like to discuss it with you”…
Oh no you didn’t! Remember that your bank will never contact you by phone and request your account / personal details.
These are called ‘Phishing scams’ and can be very sophisticated – cyber criminals will attempt to trick you into divulging personal information such as your login credentials, banking or credit card information.
Types of Phishing scams can take the form of a phone call, text, email, plain old letter, or even through your social network sites.
Be suspicious of any official-looking email message or phone call that asks for personal or financial information.
Always think – did I solicit this contact – and you guessed it, the answer is a big fat NO!
Keep and eye on your accounts for any suspicious activities.
6 – Juicy clicks and tempting offers.
So, you receive a great offer you didn’t request, from a site you have never heard of. Sounds tempting, right?
Check the contact details on the site if they don’t have a telephone number and contact address avoid, avoid , avoid!
Never click on attachments you haven’t requested in your emails no matter how important or tempting they appear.
These sites and files can often host malware that will infect your computer / device and often without a big hullaballoo, right under your nose.
7 – Shh – Top secret!!
Never keep sensitive data on your hard drives. Whether it’s credit card info, health reports, payroll details – if it must be stored digitally make sure it’s off your desktop on an external drive, stored securely and if possible not on the network.
If you bank or shop online (and only on your trusted sites) remember to logout of these sites when you’ve completed your transactions.
Avoid this online activity on public computers, cafés, libraries, work networks etc.
8 – But how did you know about my love of 80s poodle rock ballads?
Our devices have become the centre of our world. We take our friends, family, tunes, clients and their details with us. Wherever we go, they go.
Lets ensure we keep them safe.
Lock it up with a PIN or password – and never leave it unprotected in public.
Keep lovin’ the apps but only install them from destinations that you trust.
But I like ios 7!! Remember the mantra… Update!, Update!, Update!
Be careful of what you share on social networking site – never post your address or private data in a public forum, (particularly if you are a teenager, your parents are away, and you thought it would be a great idea to post the party details on Facebook)
9 – Enter the Matrix!
Power up your system to fight the hackers by installing anti-virus software from a known and trusted source. Use a firewall, then lets join hands and repeat. Update, update update!
10 – No problem, we have a backup…… Right?
Whether it’s your website, server, or your lovely new iPhone with the sparkly case, back it up on a regular basis.
Then, should the hackers get through and you find yourself the victim of a security incident, you can quickly get back to business as usual by rolling back to the last backup.
We would advise daily backups for server and site security and weekly for your devices.
These are just a few pointers to help you stay safe and secure on your online adventures!