16 Cyber Security Tips You Need to Know

Cyber Security

The world is connected. We know it, and so does everyone with a malicious intent to destroy and steal. We take for granted the ability to surf half way across the world, most times without sparing a thought to the Cyber Security part of it.

Moreover, as said by Marco Essomba in a post we recently read, “Security is an on-going battle between technology, humans, and processes.” We cannot help but fully agree with him on this. Even with all the security and technology, we as humans need to be aware of security threats.

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre – South Africa ranks third highest in the world with Cyber Crime victims losing in excess of R2.2bn to attacks annually.

In this post, we will be covering some basic key aspects of Cyber Security, with ways to protect yourself.

Email Phishing

Email Phishing tends to be one of those items always high up on the list of agenda. Why? Well with all the advantages that mail have given us, it also seems to be the easiest way to trick people into giving up their information, or entering their information onto a fake website made to look original.

Follow these tips for better protect yourself:

  1. Never click on links or icons in unsolicited emails (This cannot be stressed enough)
  2. Any email claiming to be from your bank requesting login details not to suspend your account is phishing.
  3. An email from your bank with a link asking you to login is dangerous. This type of trick will lure you to a fake website that looks exactly like your banking site and will steal your login details.
  4. Any email from your email service provider asking you to login with a link back to them to stop your account from being suspended, or to upgrade your account is also a form of phishing.
  5. Watch for mails claiming to be from your Service Provider but have no mail address on the “To:” Tab, meaning it has been sent to several different addresses.
  6. A new one we have seen is mails being spoofed from an official South African government email address with the .gov.za domain name being used. The user attaches a pdf with for the following, “Request for formal written price quotation form”. This is a con and should be looked at and scrutinised closely.

Every online password used should be changed at least one a month for better security with complicated passwords or even better, pass phrases.

Phishing Email
An example of a phishing email

Phone Scams

Phone Scams have been around for a while. With most involving an IT call centre agent trying to inform you that something has gone horribly wrong on your computer and he needs access to fix it free of charge.

The thing to remember in these scenarios is this. Nobody will work free of charge unless they have an ulterior motive. Nobody should be fixing problems on your computer unless you requested it.

Remember the following if you get an unsolicited phone call:

  1. If you did not contact an IT Professional to fix the problem, then do not give any information.
  2. If you do not know the person, or company the person is calling from informing of a problem, be cautious.
  3. Do not go to any website or download any software advised by the scammer (software would be downloaded to either grant scammer remote access, or to steal information).

Email Security

Protecting your emails with high security is an important task for every individual. Our email mailboxes contain sensitive information that could prove to be worrying if leaked to the wrong individuals.

Implement the following with your email security:

  1. Use a long password using uppercase, lowercase, symbols and number or for added security passphrases.
  2. Change email passwords at least once a month.
  3. Do not write down email passwords in plain text on notepad’s, phones or any location where it would be visible to prying eyes.
  4. When possible use a 2-factor authentication on email.
  5. If you suspect or have any suspicion at all that your password has been compromised, change password immediately.

Internet Activity

The internet can be a very dangerous place with thousands of fake websites trying to steal your information. Google will try to warn you if you have browsed to a website that contains infections. That however that is not a full proof way to guard yourself.

Always make sure you have an up to date antivirus product on your computer, one that has web filtering or protection. We recommend Eset to our customers, because it has this feature that will help safeguard your experience.

Follow these tips for a better and safer experience:

  1. If you have to log into a website, always check on the top left corner of the browser where you type the address that the site is https enabled for security reasons. Never log into a website without an SSL Certificate (https).
  2. When creating a new account on a website/portal, always use different credentials, because if the site is hacked those credentials will become available to anyone who knows where to look.

If your computer starts popping up with adverts on every webpage when you browsing the internet, you have most likely been infected with Adware which is a malicious type of malware that presents adverts. Contact an IT Professional immediately to resolve.

Phishing website example
               Google Safe Search warning that this site has been compromised and may be misleading.

SSL Security Lock
                                 Google Chrome showing an SSL certificate in place with a lock.

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