Top Tip Thursday: 10 tips to keep you safe online

Published: 3 March 2022
Published: 3 March 2022

Cybercrime comes in many different forms, the most common being: phishing, extortion through ransomware, data breach, and identity theft.

To avoid being the next target:

  1. Double check links before you click them. Cyber criminals can hide shady links by attaching them to text as hyperlinks. You can double check if a link is safe by hovering over the text to see what the target URL is.
  2. Avoid connecting to public networks. Using public networks makes you vulnerable to others sending and receiving any information you hold. Use your own personal data if you can or protect your data on public networks by using a VPN.
  3. Check for a padlock or HTTPS on websites. Before you click on a website, check if the URL contains a HTTPS at the start instead of HTTP. The extra S stands for ‘secure’ meaning the website has an SSL certificate installed and is safe for you to use.
  4. Disable Bluetooth when you’re not using it. Hackers can access your device via Bluetooth and steal any private material you have. To avoid, turn off your data when you don’t need it.
  5. Store sensitive information in secure places. Add an extra level of protection on your most sensitive data by using an encrypted cloud solution. This allows for only those with authorisation to access your files, keeping your data safe.
  6. Don’t open suspicious emails. There are many ways to spot an untrustworthy email; there might be spelling or grammar mistakes, weird formatting, or vague language. If you spot any of these or anything else that makes you skeptical, don’t open the email as it may be a phishing scam.
  7. Avoid sharing too much on social media. Be careful of sharing important information about yourself on social media such as photos of your bank cards, details of any upcoming holidays or your exact location – cyber criminals can learn a lot about you from what you post online.
  8. Refrain from downloading unnecessary files. One of the most common ways hackers gain access to victims’ devices are through downloads. Be cautious of what you are downloading and avoid downloading files which you probably do not need.
  9. Set up automatic updates. Hackers have more time to find weak spots in an older system or software compared to newer ones, hence why many companies have frequent updates to their applications. Setting up automatic updates allows you to always have the latest version of a product, protecting you from any security vulnerabilities.
  10. Avoid using debit cards online. Instead, choose to use a credit card or an online payment method such as PayPal as these options are not directly tied to your bank account.

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