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Your Online Self-Defence

Did you know that conventional security measures like firewalls, antivirus and anti-spam software can’t protect you like they used to? Your online security choices at home, work and school are your best defence as we move increasingly towards storing and sharing information online via email, social networking and the cloud.

Practice Digital Self-Defence

In general:

  • Keep your browser updated
    • They often contain patches for security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious people seeking your personal information
  • Observe password security like creating complex passwords and never, ever sharing it with anyone

On social media and cloud storage:

  • Review your default privacy settings
    • Default settings are designed to be unrestrictive to encourage sharing and visibility with peers, but this puts your personal information at risk to unwelcome parties
  • Allow minimal access to cloud-based documents
    • View-only mode with commenting privileges is often enough for collaborators to get the work done
  • Remember that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs keep your information forever so when entering private info, be wary that this can be searched by anyone.

When browsing the web and using email

  • Be alert with pop-ups and suspicious web pages, as well as unsolicited emails and social media invitations from unknown contacts
    • Personal information can be deceptively gathered using games, quizzes, questionnaires or chatting - in fact, sometimes just opening a malicious page can infect an unsecured computer
    • Use caution when asked to click a link in an email or on a site
    • Before clicking, you can verify the true destination of a URL by hovering over it with your cursor if you’re using a computer or holding down your finger on the link if you’re using a mobile device
    • Enable your browser’s pop-up blocker
  • Look for the padlock icon on the left-hand side of your browser’s address bar
    • This means the page is secure and any personal information or passwords you enter will be secure

Trust Your Instincts

If you’re wondering why someone is requesting your personal information, that alone is often a warning sign to stop and think. See more information on Phishing to learn from real-life attempts to steal usernames and passwords.