Viruses and identity theft are not new issues, but recently, individuals and companies are at a much greater risk as a result of the unanticipated increase in internet and technology use. Follow these tips to protect yourself from such an attack so that you won’t be the next victim.
For example, you receive an email promising a great joke if you open the attachment. You’re not sure who sent it but you feel like a laugh and open it anyway. Big mistake.
Attackers can break into your computer by sending you an email attachment with malware (malicious software) or downloading malware on to your computer when you open a link on a webpage.
They want to use personal and financial details on your computer to steal money, buy things on your credit card or open up bank accounts in your name.
Anyone who uses the internet needs to be aware of basic computer security:
1. Don’t click the link
If you don’t know who sent the email, or if it’s not a trusted website, then don’t click the link.
Beware: there is always an increase in email phishing scams around Christmas, whereby scammers have a fake retail store website and capture your credit card details when you buy online.
2. Install Antivirus software
Always have up-to-date antivirus protection and get regular updates, Don’t press ‘do it later’ and update six weeks later.
3. Use strong passwords
Most of the population is still using ‘1234567’ or their first name and last name,
The problem is that there are about 20 different things that require passwords. The strategy now is to write them down it is a complete U-turn and put them in your wallet [which is usually in a safe place]. If you lose your wallet, you stop your credit cards and can also reset all your online passwords.
* Never click ‘remember my password’.
* Use capitals, lower case, numbers and symbols in passwords. Don’t use words in the dictionary.
* Change passwords regularly.
* Password software is good at generating strong passwords but the human brain is the best tool of all.
4. Keep software up to date
This will ensure your software has the latest security upgrades. Attackers are always thinking up new ways to penetrate security. Don’t ignore update notifications.
5. Reconfigure wireless routers
Buy a router with secure wireless encryption, otherwise your information is unprotected and can be stolen: for example, when banking or shopping online.
When you get a new modem from a network provider, it may not be secured to encrypt traffic. People should go to the administration panel and configure their wireless network to WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 encryption.
Reconfiguring routers is easy and something people don’t do properly.
Change the name of the router to something obscure, otherwise it gives attackers information on how best to attack that router. Also, change the default login to a unique password.
6. Encrypt email
Learn to use email encryption for sensitive documents.
Don’t send emails such as a child’s health resume using Gmail or Hotmail. “There was [the recent case] where a Gmail employee started going through people’s email accounts.”
7. Use a secure web browser
Firefox or Opera are secure web browsers
“Internet Explorer is highly targeted by attackers because it is on so many machines. IE generally takes longer to patch or fix vulnerabilities.”
Eliminating internet and computer use from your life is impossible, so be sure to practice safe computing habits to protect yourself from cyber attacks.