The following security measures are vital in the fight against hackers, scams and phishing attacks.
KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UPDATED
Switch on automatic updates for your devices, browsers and applications and ensure you are always running the latest versions. Be wary of 'updates' sent via email, as these are commonly phishing attacks.
KEEP YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION PRIVATE
Be wary of what you share with strangers or on your social media platforms. Make your accounts private so that only those persons with whom you are connected can view the content. Review your privacy settings to ensure you are comfortable with the way your data is used.
ENABLE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION '2FA' (IF OFFERED)
This small step ensures a far greater degree of security for your accounts and data.
BE WARY OF UNEXPECTED COMMUNICATIONS
“Tax refunds”, “overdue account”, “mega online sale” are all common attention grabbing email subjects designed to make you react without thinking about the validity of the content. By the time you have clicked that link or opened that attachment it may already be too late, so taking those extra few seconds to re-read the email is crucial. Ensuring you are comfortable that the sending address is legitimate, and be wary of emotional triggers, bad spelling or an invitation to ask you to do something out of the ordinary as these are all ways fraudsters try to entice you to engage with malicious content. Be mindful that scams are not always via email. Social engineering scams can also take place via phone, text / social media messages and in person. If you are unsure of the contact made, verify via your usual contact method (call to a known safe number, visit to a local office, browsing to the official website).
SECURE YOUR WI-FI
Set a strong password to ensure only you and those you trust can use your internet connection. Using your address or another easy-to-guess password (e.g. your name) will make it very easy for hackers to gain access. Be wary of public Wi-Fi connections (consider using a secure VPN) and do not use these for anything confidential, i.e. checking your online banking, entering credit card information for purchases, etc.
SECURE YOUR DEVICES
Do not leave your devices lying around where others can easily access them. Ensure you have a strong passphrase / passcode set (see section 'USE STRONG PASSWORDS' for how to avoid easy-to-guess passwords) and always lock your devices before you step away from them. If viewing sensitive data, be mindful of 'shoulder surfing' and, if necessary, delay looking at the data until you are in a more secure environment. Consider built in security features to track your devices, etc., should you become separated from them, and installing anti-malware applications as an additional layer of protection.