If you’ve ever had your identity stolen online or been the victim of fraud, you’ll know how stressful and financially destructive it can be.
But even though the consequences can be serious, both personally and financially, ensuring you are protected from online scammers is still something that is often put aside to ‘do another day’.
Cyber attacks are unfortunately now commonplace and Twitter recently warned its 330 million users to change their passwords after a bug was discovered in its computer system, which stored passwords and usernames in text. gross.
Meanwhile, the headlines last month were full of potential threats of state-sponsored hacking attacks from Russia and led to a joint warning from the UK’s National Cyber Security Center, FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security.
Large-scale cyber attacks are fortunately quite rare, but we regularly hear from people who have been victims of online fraud.
We’ve asked a number of cybersecurity experts for their top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, and we’ve put together a list of the best ones here, laying out the latest tips so you can give scammers a hard time:
(1) Be careful with the information you share on social networks
Social media can be a treasure trove for scammers, especially when it comes to finding personal information and potentially robbing people of their money.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that personal information, such as your date of birth, phone number, or address, is not shared here.
Likewise, if you regularly leave updates on your social media accounts when you go on vacation, it can be a tool for criminals and will let them know when your house is empty.
Lisa Baergen, director of online technology company NuData Security, said: “ By looking at your photos or videos, hackers can determine where you live and work.
“ They can find the name of your spouse and who you socialize with – even the name of your pet that you can use as an answer to more stringent security questions – even your mother’s maiden name, period. preferred data bank used by creditors and financial institutions to verify your identity.
To protect yourself on your social media feeds, check your security settings so you know who can access the details you share. Make sure your security settings are on the highest possible setting and use less obvious answers for security questions, such as your pet’s name, which can be easily obtained from your profile.
(2) A password manager will encrypt and store all your passwords
You’ve probably been told a thousand times to regularly change your password and have a different one for each account you use. However, remembering eight or nine different passwords (if not more) and changing them regularly can be a real hassle and time consuming.
Instead, a password manager can do it for you. They are free to use and generate secure passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. These are then stored in an encrypted account and once connected to the password manager, your username and password will be filled in automatically when you request them.
Adam Brown, spokesperson for online tech company Synopsys, explains, “ Users have hundreds of online accounts these days and if any of those are breached and the password data of password are disclosed with a linkable identifier such as a username or email address, then that user’s password. is often no longer confidential due to the common but poor practice of reusing passwords.
Anything user-related should be avoided, as well as dictionary words and variations. Targeted attacks use reconnaissance to gain information about the victim; social media or even public records can reveal friends and relative names and dates etc.
‘Ideally, a single string with numbers, mixed-case letters and special characters should be used; and phrases can help increase the complexity of a password while keeping them memorable.
“A reputable password manager gives users the ability to use non-guessable passwords (which also tend not to be rememberable) with their online accounts. It might seem like it’s putting all of your eggs in one basket, but they have very strong security controls and in fact a good password manager never actually stores your password, just a super encrypted version of it that only you with the password key) can access. ‘
(3) Install updated antivirus software
When you connect your computer, cell phone, or tablet to the Internet, you potentially open it to catch a virus that could steal your private information.
To prevent this from happening, install an antivirus program and make sure to update it regularly. This includes performing regular full virus scans and downloading any updates sent by the vendor.
There are a number of free antivirus programs available, such as Windows Defender (free for those with newer versions of Windows), Avast Antivirus, and Avira.
(4) Fix your operating system
“Fixing” your operating system simply means performing regular updates from the system you are using.
Large companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, send them in to ensure that users of their systems can fully update their computers with the latest software to attack and remove viruses.
This is especially important when it comes to cybersecurity, as these fixes often include details to protect your computer from recent online viruses.
(5) Use VPN connection when viewing private information online
A free wifi network can be a boon if you are strapped for data or just don’t want to burn your data while using the internet.
However, it can also be used by hackers as a way to steal personal and financial information from people using the network.
Open wifi networks are not as secure as private networks, so try to avoid using online banking or entering your payment or personal information when using one.
If you’re a VPN or VPN, connecting can give you an extra layer of protection.
These allow you to remotely connect to a private network and encrypt your internet connection and all the data you send, so that no one can access it, including the internet service provider or a potential hacker.
There are several VPNs available for free online and a number of apps you can download.
(6) Regularly check your credit for suspicious payments or apps
Often times, your credit score can be the first place you find out you’ve been hacked, as all credit inquiries will show up here. It is therefore important to check it regularly and contact the credit reference agency if you notice anything strange.
James Jones, spokesperson for Experian, comments: “ If you are unlucky enough to be targeted by a fraudster, the sooner you find out and raise the alarm, the less time and effort it takes to restore the facts.
“ The three major credit reference agencies (Experian, Callcredit and Equifax) offer free assistance to victims of fraud to limit any distress and inconvenience, including liaising with lenders involved on your behalf. We also offer paid web monitoring tools that can browse the web and alert you if your personal information is in a new location online.
(7) Never open links from people you don’t know
If you are contacted by someone you don’t know, be it in an email, phone call, text message, via social media, or even in a WhatsApp message, always check who the person is or who they are. before clicking on a link in the message or delivering any of your details.
If there are any links or attachments in the message, don’t open them until you are sure you know the sender is genuine.
If you know the sender, check with them that they intend to share the link and that it is not a virus.
Ryan Wilk, vice president of online security company NuData Security, says: “ Most scammers will first try to contact you with an email claiming to be from your bank or financial institution, or maybe from your bank or financial institution. ‘a trusted brand. Beware of emails received from these sources – it is very unlikely that a bank will contact you by email.
“ Unfortunately, brand emails have become a standard routine (sometimes, too often) and have become extremely realistic and sophisticated. If an unsolicited incoming email asks for your personal and / or financial information, do your research and / or pick up the phone and call the sending organization directly. ”
Source by Uche Kalu