This page has a number of links to Get Safe Online – an excellent website with practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses etc. It also contains guidance on backups, how to avoid theft or loss of your computer, smartphone or tablet, safe guarding children, safe online shopping, gaming and dating.
Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.
Keep your passwords safe:
- Use a password program or your browser
- Write them on paper and keep it hidden inside a book and NOT underneath the computer!
- Save them on your computer – but be careful! Here’s a site that explains how you can save them in a password protected Word document. Alternatively save your user names (numbered) in an Excel file and your passwords (with same numbering) in another file. Name both files something innocious like ‘shopping list’ or ‘friends birthdays’ and ‘hide’ them somewhere in two separate innocious folders. Warning: avoid copy and pasting them as there are programs that can capture stuff that’s pasted.
- Use the initials from favorite songs e.g. LITSWD – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and add first two letters of site to start and end (Amazon = ALITSWDM)
Identify important passwords (FaceBook, Google, anything to do with finances/money: Bank, Amazon, Ebay etc) and make sure these are strong and unique (not used anywhere else).
Other passwords, such as forum membership logins, probably don’t need so much protection.
Avoid saving your credit card details with any site!
When you start a program or try to run something you downloaded from the internet you may get a warning – this is just the computer double-checking that you initiated this.
If you didn’t initiate anything and you see one of these warnings don’t allow it until you know what it is.
You may get regular updates from various sources: Microsoft, your Anti-virus program, Java, Adobe Reader.
Generally you should allow updates – many of them deal with potential security issues and so it’s best to be up to date.
However, make sure you know what you’re saying yes to – ask a knowledgeable friend AND Google the request.
You MUST have an anti-virus program. Good free ones should be sufficient for most of us using our computers for personal information
There are three things you may get asked to do:
- update the virus ‘database’ – the list of viruses that the program looks for – do this!
- update the program itself – so new ‘versions’ will have new features, occassionaly needed to deal with new types of virus – do this!
- upgrade the program – usually to a paid version. No need to do this.
In fact the first two should be scheduled to run regularly (and usually are by default). So check this is happening. Google something like – [name of your antivirus software – e.g. AVG] automatic update option
Extracts from above site …
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) seeks sensitive information through a deceptive email that masquerades as a trustworthy source. Typically, this is a wide-net activity and if the net is wide enough, even a .01% response rate can be productive. A great example is the common “Nigerian Prince” emails.
Pretexting is creating an invented scenario which engages a target to act in a way they otherwise wouldn’t. To make it more believable, they often play on your sympathy by crying down the phone, admitting something embarrassing, or telling someone how terrible their day has been. The attacks involve a lot of prior research so they sound as natural as possible and can think on their feet while interacting with their target. Smaller acts of pretexting are often used to gather information as part of a larger attack and are favored by identity thieves. An example is the “Microsoft phone scam” where the attacker calls claiming to be from Microsoft, saying that your PC has a virus, and that they can help you over the phone.
Baiting: the modern day Trojan horse. Have you ever found a USB on the ground and wondered what treasures it might hold? Or you’ve needed to access your email urgently and connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot you didn’t verify first. This attack is all about putting a carrot out and waiting for someone to take it.