1. Beware of phishing when surfing online
Phishing cases are on the rise and spotting them can be a challenge, even for savvy web users. It is important to learn how to spot suspicious emails and websites, preventing yourself from revealing critical personal information such as your password.
To avoid being a victim of phishing attacks:
- Never click on questionable links.
- Always double-check the URL to make sure the browser shows a lock symbol to ensure that you’re entering your data into a legitimate website.
- Before submitting any information, make sure that the site’s URL begins with ‘https’ (versus “http”), meaning it’s secure.
Use web browsers which have security steps in place to keep users away from phishing sites. For example, if you visit a site with malware or attempts to phish you, you’ll be warned by Chrome and taken back to safety. Or if you type your Google account password into a suspected phishing site, Chrome will surface a warning and add protections to ensure your account isn’t compromised.
Take this quiz to test your phishing-detection skills!
2. Download secure apps
The festive season brings brisk business for e-commerce sites who might prompt you to download their dedicated shopping app for a better shopping experience. Just be aware of any fake shopping apps that set out to steal your personal information. To prevent that, make sure you’re downloading apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store which scans all apps for malware before and after you install them.
3. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true
Online marketplaces are a great place to get the best bargains for the festive season. But do think twice about that great bargain you’ve spotted, especially if it sounds too good to be true.
To prevent yourself from falling victim to an e-commerce scam, here are some easy steps to follow:
- Always check the seller’s score and track record, and only purchase from reputable sellers
- Use shopping platforms that release payments to the seller after you have received the goods
- With millions of buyers online selling products, look to secure sites such as Google Shopping to surface merchants who meet a minimum review score so you’ll know they’re safe.
4. Use unique passwords
Stop kidding yourself that you only re-use passwords on accounts that don’t matter, or that you have an unbreakable password scheme that no one else can guess. Every single thing with a password needs to have a unique password, shared with nothing else.
5. Use a password manager
If you can memorise all your passwords, you can almost guarantee that they aren’t varied enough to be secure. A password manager may feel like putting all your eggs in one basket, but it’s a padded secure basket kept up-to-date by the best minds in the business.
(Read more: Do You Shop Online? You Could Be A Victim Of Identity Theft)
6. Use random passwords
Once you’ve got your password manager, use it to generate secure random passwords for you, rather than trying to invent your own. Helpful hint: A strong password is one that uses a good mixture of case, letters, numbers and symbols, as well as steering clear of dictionary words.
7. Turn on two-step verification
Two-step verification basically prevents a third-party from logging in to your accounts even if they have managed to steal your password. It’s an added layer of security, which makes it very difficult indeed to hack in to protect accounts.
(Read more: 6 Signs You’re In Desperate Need of A Digital Detox)
8. Update your software
Stay ahead of the safety curve by opting for automatic updates. Most hacks are carried out by attacking software using weaknesses that were known, and fixed, long ago. It’s like we’ve invented vaccines, but you’re still catching smallpox. Particular focus should be paid to your operating system, web browser, and Adobe Flash.
9. Put a 6-digit pin on your phone
On an iPhone, open settings, hit Touch ID & Passcode, flick on Erase Data, and click Change Passcode to set it to a six-digit PIN. Also, set it to wipe if it’s guessed wrongly too many times. If your phone is locked when it gets stolen, you can prevent the bad loss of hundreds of dollars of technology from turning into the loss of enough personal data to have your identity stolen too.
(Read more: 5 New Scam Tactics You Need To Know About In Singapore)
10. Enable full-disk encryption
If you think the risk of identity theft is bad when your phone is stolen, just think what happens when your computer is lifted. Prevent this with a little tweak to your computer’s hard drive, which can be set to automatically encrypt when it’s turned off.
11. Back-up to an external hard drive
Everything on your computer should be stored on a physically separate hard drive under your possession. If the worst happens, and you lose everything, you need to be able to restore your data. Cloud storage will help, but cloud platforms go bust unexpectedly, are just as vulnerable to hacking.
READ MORE: The Golden Rules Of Online Etiquette For Kids
Text: Natalya Molok; additional tips from Google