Whether it’s keeping your business or yourself safe from having your data hacked, it’s important to be aware of the best ways to protect yourself and your information.
Anna Collard, Managing Director of Popcorn Training, has put together some tips to avoid many of the nasty surprises that lurk online.
Don’t click on direct links
These can come through your emails, text messages or messaging services and are a prime way for hackers to get your information directly. Much like you wouldn’t respond to a random phone call asking for your personal information, even if it sounds like they’re from a legitimate source like a bank, you also shouldn’t give sensitive information to unconfirmed sources online. If you’re concerned, find the number for the organisation and confirm with them yourself.
Don’t overshare on social media
It is considered almost second nature to post as much information about ourselves as possible online. These kinds of details can provide hackers with ammunition to craft a phishing attack and answers to security questions.
Ignore threatening emails
Hackers often try to scam you by saying they have your password, that they’ve seen you’ve visited bad websites or recorded you in compromising positions. Ignore these emails as it is just an attempt to shame or bully you into complying with their demands.
Be weary of any request to change banking and wiring instructions, even if it is from a supposedly trusted source. Always verify before following through by calling the person using a previously discussed phone number.
Don’t re-use passwords
Keep each critical account’s passwords separate. Online banking, social media, email and work accounts should all have distinct, detailed passwords.
Don’t pay for anything
Be cautious of any unexpected invoices or requests to receive or pay for anything by using gift cards.
Use multi-factor authentication
Where possible, using an authenticator is the best level of extra security. This is combining your password with something you own, like a one-time password app on your phone.
Report suspicious emails
Don’t delete the dodgy emails you may receive via you work email. Rather find out who to report it to so it can be investigated.
Use a password management tool
Since you will need to use detailed passwords for multiple sites, a trusted password management tool can help keep them straight.
Don’t give out personal details
Your bank will never ask you for access to your account from an SMS or Whatsapp. Be aware of suspicious messages that claim to be from reputable institutions and want your details.
Cybercriminals are highly organized and motivated by financial gain. They have learnt to trick us by “hacking” our emotions. Pay attention to anything triggering a feeling – positive or negative. Always think before you click.