Take control of your online safety by learning how to protect your data.
We can all take steps to mitigate the risk of our personal data being accessed by others by following good practice and taking simple, easy measures.
The SecuriGroup Communications team has researched a selection of top tips to help keep you safe online.
1. Learn How to Check URLs
The goal of many spam emails is to encourage you to click on a link which takes you to a fake page which is designed to steal your data. To prevent this, it is invaluable to be able to check the URL of any links.
To check a URL, hover over the link. Most browsers will show the full URL at the bottom of the window. In the below example, which is our recent story on email phishing, you can see the URL we used to forward our readers to Google's free email phishing test, Jigsaw. You can see the URL is https://phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/?hl=en-GB
That means we are sending you to a secure site (which you can see by the beginning of the link, https://) and the domain of the website is Google.com, a trusted website.
It is surprisingly difficult to identify a large number of spam emails as they are entirely designed to fool you by mimicking authentic emails from real companies, to a high degree of accuracy – and getting into the habit of checking URLs is recommended.
2. Review Your Social Media Accounts
Be aware of the information you share freely online, and the potential consequences of doing so. Direct Line produced a video to highlight this issue:
3. Change Your Passwords
A simple one, but still an area of weakness for many accounts – especially if you've had the same password on any one account for more than a year. It is also advised that you do not use the same passwords for more than one account – using a password manager will help you to create hard-to-break passwords for each of your accounts, and remember them on your behalf.
4. Cut Back on Data Sharing
You don't need to be so agreeable when filling out forms online or in person. Companies commonly ask for data from you because they want to collect, use, and potentially share or sell it; be cautious who you are giving data to and why.
5. Avoid Using Public WiFi & Public Computers
As a rule, you cannot trust the safety of public Wi-Fi networks or public computers as you have no control over security settings or who may have interfered with them.
Unless you have protected your device beforehand with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), connecting to public Wi-Fi connections is not recommended.
It is also best practice to switch off your Wi-Fi setting on your phone when you are not connected to a network. If you don't, your phone will continue to look for networks, sending out data which hackers can exploit.
6. Invest in a Virtual Private Network
Quite simply, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) channels your internet activity through a secure network, better disguising your activity and protecting your data. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to access your data transmissions when it's in transit over the Internet.
7. Keep Operating Systems & Software Updated
Whenever there's new software for your device, update immediately. Often companies release security updates to fix bugs that could give hackers access. For example, Windows no longer provides security updates to Windows XP, which is now considered very vulnerable.
The global WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected the NHS and caused millions in damages, exploited older, vulnerable Windows systems which were still in use and had not been updated.
8. Always back up your most important data
Safeguard your most important data, such as your photos and key documents, by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system.
For all media enquiries, please contact the SecuriGroup Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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