November is a Cyber Safety month, with that in mind we decided to share some tips with you on how we stay safe online. These days almost everyone has access in some capacity to the internet, which brings a lot of possible risks especially to children and the elderly who are unaware of ongoing internet fraud and scams.
Here are our top tips on how we stay safe online, as working from home and storing a lot of data on our laptops creates a perfect opportunity for someone to try and access our details.
Browse Only On Websites with Valid Security Certificates
Over the last year we saw the introduction of safety certificates online. What it means, is that the site has relevant safety features and has passed relevant tests to allow you browse and provide your details safely. You can recognize which site is safe by looking on the HTTP address. If it says https then the site has a safety certificate and you will spot a little padlock beside it, if only http is displayed it is generally accompanied by red cross which states the site isn’t safe to browse on.
These days its very easy to get access to number of email addresses or often email addresses are sold by website scanning devices and this is generally how we receive spam emails into our mailbox. Important thing is to never click on links within emails from an unknown source. Especially in our business where we receive new project requests on an ongoing basis its very easy to click on a bogus link and get the computer infected with a virus.
When choosing your computer a lot of the time (at least in Ireland) you will have an option to buy a bundle such as laptop and an antivirus or laptop and Microsoft Office package. Often antiviruses will also come in for free with the laptop for a certain period of time such as one year. If your work is on your laptop then I’d highly recommend to make sure your antivirus is up to date and in a Guard mode at all times, you do not want a virus destroying all your files or even worse causing the ultimate death to your device.
Storing & Changing Passwords
I know its very easy to store all your passwords online on accounts which you use everyday as auto-fill however I’d strongly recommend not to do that. If your device is stolen then they have an immediate access to practically your life – your bank details, emails, social media, contact list and the list goes on. They might not steal anything, or at least it might not look like anything has been “stolen” to the naked eye however if your identity gets cloned then that’s next to impossible to fix & you will be responsible for repayment of anything purchased under your name i.e. credit card bills. Its also very important to change your passwords on a regular basis, if you are being monitored then this is a useful tactic to keep possible fraudsters on their toes.
Close Your Webcam
Personal information theft is one thing, but having your photographs stolen or being monitored live is another. Its important to cover up your laptop webcam with a webcam safety lock. This can be purchased online, we got ours on Amazon for less than $3 and we got 3 covers in a pack. Webcam remains closed until we need to use it for a conference or a Skype call.
We hope you found some of these tips useful, if anything is just another guideline on how to be cautious. Online scam doesn’t sleep and cyber attacks are ongoing. All you can do is be vigilant and don’t disclose your personal details to unknown sources.
Until Next Time,
Joanna & Warren