10 Steps to Personal Cybersecurity
1. Don’t post any personal information online.
Don’t post your address, Date of Birth, email address or mobile phone number. Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and it is likely to stay there forever. Be sure to place security settings for each picture you post especially when using social media sites. Keep your privacy settings as high as possible and if you are unsure then visit www.getsafeonline.org.
2. Be careful what you do online.
Don’t befriend people you don’t know online, they may not be the person they say they are. Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to a friend, your parent or carer about people suggesting you do. Think carefully about what you say before you post something online, remember you are publishing something, just like a newspaper does. Think about what you are saying, if you don’t, you may find yourself in real trouble, respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude again you could find yourself in trouble or even in some cases committing a criminal offence.
3. Keep software up to date.
Installing software updates for your operating system and programs is critical. Always install the latest security updates for your devices, turn on automatic updates for your operating system, use web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox that receive frequent, automatic security updates. Make sure to keep browser plug-ins (Flash, Java, etc.) up to date.
4. Avoid Phishing scams – beware of suspicious emails and phone calls.
Phishing scams are a constant threat – using various social engineering (link is external) ploys, cyber criminals will attempt to trick you into divulging personal information such as your login ID and password, banking or credit card information. Phishing scams can be carried out by phone, text, or through social networking sites – but most commonly by email. Be suspicious of any official-looking email message or phone call that asks for personal or financial information.
5. Practice good password management.
We all have too many passwords to manage – and it’s easy to take short-cuts, like re-using the same password. A password management program can help you to maintain strong unique passwords for all of your accounts. These programs can generate strong passwords for you, enter credentials automatically, and remind you to update your passwords periodically.
6. Be careful what you click.
Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will automatically, and often silently, compromise your computer. If attachments or links in email are unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it.
7. Never leave devices unattended.
The physical security of your devices is just as important as their technical security. If you need to leave your laptop, phone, or tablet for any length of time – lock it up so no one else can use it. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to keep these locked as well. For desktop computers, shut-down the system when not in use – or lock your screen.
8. Install antivirus protection.
Only install an antivirus program from a known and trusted source. Keep virus definitions, engines and software up to date to ensure your antivirus program remains effective.
9. Back up your data.
Back up on a regular basis – if you are a victim of a security incident, the only guaranteed way to repair your computer or phone is to erase and re-install the operating system.
10. Use mobile devices safely.
Considering how much we rely on our mobile devices, and how susceptible they are to attack, you’ll want to make sure you are protected:
- Lock your device with a PIN or password – and never leave it unprotected in public.
- Only install apps from trusted sources.
- Keep your device’s operating system updated.
- Don’t click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails or texts.
- Avoid transmitting or storing personal information on the device.
- Most handheld devices are capable of employing data encryption – consult your device’s documentation for available options.
- Use Apple’s Find my iPhone or the Android Device Manager tools to help prevent loss or theft.
- Backup your phone data.