Are you digitally secure?
We’re living in a digital age, and whether we want to admit it technology is slowly becoming part of who we are. We all like to think we’re secure, but how strong is your password and how secure is your digital information. Generally, most websites and services we use are secure and have inbuilt firewalls, hacking protection and advanced phishing warnings but there will always be people out there who will try and exploit this.
We get lots of messages on a regular basis asking if an email one of our followers has received is genuine, or if a phone call they have received is genuinely from the company the caller is claiming to represent. We love helping our followers, and doing our own little investigations. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to help secure your online presence, and make sure you’re secure in this digital age.
- Never use the same password for every online service. Use different passwords for your email accounts, cloud accounts, bank accounts etc. Many people use the same password for all of their online services which is a massive security risk.
- A strong password should consist of at least 8 characters, include 1 uppercase letter, 1 number and a special character such as a $ symbol. If you really want to have a secure password, make it a random sentence “TheDogRanOver2YellowShrimp$” – that’s if you can remember it! You can even shorten it down to “tDro2Ys$”
- Reset your passwords periodically, at least every 6 months to ensure maximum security.
- Don’t save your password in your phones contact list or address book. This makes it extremely easy if someone finds your lost phone to access your digital accounts.
- Use “Two Step” or “Two Factor” verification on your online accounts. This ensures that only you can access your account, by verifying your identity on a trusted device or phone number. Most email providers, social media websites and cloud services offer two step verification.
- When submitting personal information such as a passwords or credit card information, make sure they are being sent through a secure (HTTPS) web page, by looking for the padlock in the address bar, or “https://” in the URL.
- Never access banking websites, pay bills or make online transactions or visit any other sensitive pages over a public wifi network.
- Backup your information! We cant stress that enough, ensure that you have valid backups for all of your contacts, data and photos.
- Keep your mobile device software up to date. Companies are always releasing security updates alongside software updates.
- Have a remote wipe, and find my phone service setup for your mobile phone.
- Check your mobile banking on a regular basis for any unrecognised charges.
Some general questions we’re asked on a regular basis:
- How does a hacker get my password? This generally happens in one of three ways; 1) Someone who knows you manages to guess your password through social engineering, usually by guessing your password or answers to recovery options such as security questions. 2) A major company / corporation / online service has been the victim of a hack and encrypted passwords are exposed and 3) Through a brute force attack on your password – having a secure password as outlined above can make this method extremely difficult and time consuming.
- Are security questions secure? Generally, yes but through social engineering they may be possible to guess. Especially if someone close to you attempts the answers. We recommend the answers to security questions be completely random, but unique to you. E.g. What is your mothers maiden name Answer: Battered Cod.
- I’ve received a phishing email, and clicked on the link. Whats going to happen? Nothing, generally clicking on a link in a phishing email doesn’t trigger malware. Phishing emails are sent to extract data from the victim, as long as you haven’t entered your personal information and submitted the form you should be okay to simply close the page, mark the email as spam and delete it. If you are ever unsure whether an email is genuine or not, reach out to the company directly and they will confirm it for you.
- I’ve received a suspicious phone call, what do I do? If you think that you have received a call from a scammer, or other suspicious individual we recommend immediately disconnecting the call. If they say they represent a specific company, tell the caller that you are going to call the company directly and proceed to call the companies official listed telephone number. Some advice: Never give personal information / banking / card details on a phone call that you have not initiated.
Some useful links:
- Protect your children online: https://www.facebook.com/childrenofthedigitalage
- Preventing identity theft