Top 6 tips for being cyber secure

Cenitex senior security engineer Joe Tran gives us his top tips for being cyber secure

 

Cyber security

 

  1. Keep your software (not just your anti-virus) up to date (on all your personal devices)
    One of the easiest ways to stay on top of current security threats is to let your device manufacturers do the work for you. Vendors regularly release software updates to address current and emerging security issues. Enable automatic updates where possible.

 

  1. Keep your passwords complex and changed frequently
    Consider using long passwords and replacing letters in your password with capitals, numbers or characters to make it stronger e.g. replace an “e” with a 3, replace an “i” with a !. This will make it harder for anyone to guess your password.
    Additional tips branching from this:
    1. Avoid reusing passwords over different accounts – this is probably worse than not changing your password. If your username and password combination happens to be stolen, this opens up all your accounts that use that combination to be accessed. Using different passwords for different accounts makes it harder for the attacker.
    2. Do not log onto untrusted computers – you do not know what is on the computer or how secure it is. If you must use one, make a habit of deleting cached info on the browser when done, or consider using the browsers “incognito” or “private” mode, which will do this for you.
    3. Two-factor authentication – this means that you require more than one way to login (think when you login remotely to work from home) i.e. add another layer or security to passwords. If the online service you are using offers this, consider enabling it.
    4. Use a password manager such as Lastpass to securely store passwords.

 

  1. Be conscious of what you share online or in public (oversharing)
    What can be seen as something innocent can easily be used to build up a profile of yourself to be used to impersonate you, determine when you are not home, where you went to school, where you work, find out your habits to sell unsolicited services/goods, etc.
    1. Consider setting your online profiles to private. That way only people you trust can view your posts.
    2. Look for signs that a site is legitimate/secure. Look out for a padlock in browser bar, is the URL (web address) correct (if there are misspellings, avoid it), etc.

 

  1. Learn to ignore anything unsolicited (emails, phone calls, etc)
    Unsolicited contact tends to offer you something enticing (free stuff, missed delivery) to trick you into clicking/downloading/filling in forms.
    1. Don’t click links or open attachments from people you do not know, and if you do know them, question why and would they send you this type of email.
    2. Be vigilant of spam and learn their techniques e.g. do you usually have to install a program to view a utilities bill?
    3. Don’t be reckless with clicking, don’t click ads etc.
    4. Make a habit of double checking links, take time to think if you have signed up to this service e.g. AFP infringement spam campaign in the past - AFP do not issue speeding tickets for infringement done in a State.
    5. Look for spelling and grammatical errors.
    6. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you.

 

  1. Make a habit of checking (and regularly reviewing) privacy settings on your software/apps/social media/online services
    Most things provide users the ability to determine how much, to whom, how it’s shared, what is shared, etc to the service provider, other users, friends.

 

  1. Practice safe online shopping
    1. Make a habit to review your credit card statement/transactions weekly to look for any unauthorized purchases or incorrect charges.
    2. Be wary of where you choose to shop.
    3. Don’t save your credit card details with the website. If they are “hacked”, your info can easily be stolen.
    4. Shop from a trusted machine on a trusted network.