If you read our last blog post, you’ll have learned the truth about the most common misconceptions when it comes to Internet security.
Today, we’d like to provide you with 10 easy steps to heighten your security both at work and at home.
#1: Use strong passwords for email and social media
NEVER use the same password for more than one online account. Why? If one account is compromised, then others will follow. We know asking you to set completely different passwords for all of your accounts is a stretch but try to use at least variations e.g. usualpasswordFB! usualpasswordINSTA#
Want brownie points? One of the best methods of protection is using 2FA (Two-factor authentication). Along with your password, you’ll have to enter a code sent to your email address or mobile phone.
#2: Stay safe from spyware and financial stealing malware with a specialist security add-on
It sounds James Bond, we know. But these attacks are on the rise, getting worse and cannot be caught by traditional antivirus programs. We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of ransomware at this point, unless of course you live on the moon.
SYS3 recommend using Heimdal Security as a bolt-on to your existing antivirus. Unlike traditional AV, it scans live traffic in and out of your systems to catch things as they happen, not after the event.
#3: Keep your operating system and apps updated!
Software vulnerabilites are always in the news but many people don’t act on them. If you don’t update your software, you’ll leave security holes open. It’s the cyber equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked. Software updates don’t just improve performance, they fix known security flaws!
The worst offenders? Java, Adobe Flash (actually, anything Adobe), Chrome, FireFox… Criminals constantly watch these apps for flaws. Combined with the human races’ reluctance to perform updates and you have the perfect hacking scenario.
Don’t ignore updates. Set apps to update automatically if available.
#4: Use a standard user account on a daily basis
In Windows, you can set different levels of permissions for each account. If you are one of the privileged who have administrative rights…don’t use that account for your day to day usage. Switching to admin when you actually need it is far safer.
Why? You can ensure that, even if you get infected with malware, the damage will be limited. No admin rights = reduced rights for the hacker.
#5: Go online with a secure browser
Your browser is the main tool you use to browse the Internet and you should pay a great deal of attention to how secure it is.
Why? Vulnerabilities in browsers are open invitations to cybercriminals and we bet you let Google remember your passwords…
Choose the latest version, update it regularly and make sure your banking sites and any other site containing sensitive data is secure. Look for https://
#6: Don’t trust public or free Wi-Fi networks!
It’s SO tempting to connect to a free network but they are one of the favourite methods used by cybercriminals to get your private information by using ‘sniffers’ to access data sent over unprotected networks.
If you must connect, use a ‘private’ browsing session or VPN so your details aren’t stored locally and don’t access banking or other highly sensitive sites.
#7: Check the link before you click it
Phishing threats are usually sent via email from your ‘bank’ or ‘mum’ These attempt to take private information from you by enticing you to click on a link and enter sensitive data, such as your email credentials.
Top tip: To check a link, hover your mouse over it (don’t click!) and see if it is pointing to a legitimate location. If it’s supposed to be your bank and it shows ‘hfie088.net’ DON’T click it! There are also a number of free tools available to help you check links.
#8: Don’t forget to log out!
This may be pointing out the obvious, but how many times have you just closed the browser when you’re finished with onling banking or Facebook rather than physically signing out?
If you don’t sign out, particularly on a shared computer, the next person who opens that particular site will likely be straight onto your account.
#9: Don’t overshare on social media
Exposing personal details on social media can lead to it falling into the wrong hands. For this reason, check your kids’ social media behaviour to make sure they don’t unknowlingly expose private information that could be used against you, such as your home address. We’ve all seen this plonker online haven’t we?!
#10: Don’t access questionable web locations
Last but not least…we’re going to point out the obvious.
Don’t access or download content from unkown controversial locations, such as torrent websites (even though the Odeon is a rip-off and you have the newest Marvel movie at your fingertips).
Please only access websites that are proved safe and you can trust. We know it’s not a guarantee you wont be infected but this rule gives you the best odds.