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Five ways to stay secure online

Further to our Cyber Security workshop this morning, we would like to share five quick tips to stay secure online.

These were put together by Adam Lutkin from Computanet, on how to prevent hackers from breaching your systems.

  1. Hook up to a network that you know. Free wifi is tempting, but be sure that you consider who is providing the connection. Public connections at the local coffee shop are usually unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. While these networks provide convenience, there are risks to be aware of.
  2. Bank and shop with caution. Shopping from familiar website is a good place to start. Stick with the reputable sites that are tried and true – like Amazon or eBay. Also, when checking out and finalising the purchase look for the ‘padlock’ symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser. This will ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of the webpage. Keeping an eye of your bank statements for suspicious activity is always a good idea, among these other best practices for shopping online.
  3. Use secure passwords. Passwords for logging into any website should contain a mix of letters, numbers and special characters – as well as be different for each website that you log into. It can definitely be a pain to remember all of these passwords, but ask yourself which is more painful – remember them, or recovering stolen personal information.
  4. Lock your computer. When you walk away from your machine, lock it. In Windows, it is easy as pressing the Windows key + L. On Apple Mac, pressing ‘Control+Shirt+Eject’ will o the trick (unless you do not have an optical drive, then you can hit the ‘Power’ key instead of ‘Eject’). This practice would be the equivalent to dead bolting the front door of your home. It acts as a deterrent to the bad guys as well as a line of defence. It may even be worth setting up a password lock on your Apple or Windows machine as well.
  5. Do not click on anything unfamiliar. If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. IF you get an email from an unknown source, do not click any of the links within it – and immediately report it to your IT department. If a window pops up while browsing a website, immediately close it. Familiarity is always your friend. Using your judgement and trusting your gut is the ultimate defence when online. Always play it safe


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