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Stay Safe Online

 

Educating yourself about cyber security cannot be stressed enough, the more you know and understand about the subject, the better your chances of staying safe online. Your cyber awareness is essential to your safety and privacy on the Internet. Cyber security is two-fold. Obviously, you need Internet security software, but it can’t protect you from everything. Practicing safe online habits can help protect you from potential online risks.

 

Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Tips:

 

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or – if appropriate – mark it as junk.
  • Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true or asks for personal information.
  • Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
  • Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
  • Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

 

Tips for Avoiding Being a Victim

 

  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Before sending or entering sensitive information online, check the security of the website.
  • Pay attention to the website’s URL. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Contact the company using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email. Check out the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) to learn about known phishing attacks.
  • Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and report it as fraud.
  • Watch for any unauthorized charges to your account.