Top Tips to Staying Safe Online

Over the past week or so, there has been an increase in Cyber Crime, particularly identity theft. Hackers are using software that can easily access accounts with weak passwords. Below are the top tips to stop this happening to you.

Use Complex Passwords!!!

Passwords are certainly an annoyance for most normal people. Having to remember which one is for which site and so on. However, in this day and age, it is more important than ever to ensure your passwords are as complex as possible. A recent study of compromised machines globally found that the top 5 passwords were:

  1. 123456

  2. password

  3. 12345678

  4. qwerty

  5. 11111

The rule of thumb for any password, particularly ones you use online is:

  1. At least 8 Characters containing a combination of Capital Letters, Lowercase Letters, Numbers and Symbols.

  2. Don’t use Names, dates of births, consecutive numbers or consecutive letters (be it alphabetical of on a keyboard).

Trust no-one!!!

OK, this sounds a little drastic but, there are principles to bear in mind when dealing with people.

Don’t talk to strangers in the street!

I’m sure we all had this drummed into us as children, well the same principle applies to Technology today. The basics are as follows:

  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on Social Networks (Facebook for example).

  • Don’t open attachments or click on links in an email unless you are 100% sure they are from someone you know.

  • Never give your personal details including banking details to anyone over email or by phone.

  • If you receive a phone call from anyone reporting that you have a problem with your PC or Mac and ask for remote access to resolve it, then it’s most likely a scam and you should hang up straight away. (Usually they would pretend to be from Telstra or similar)

  • Be wary of emails that are addressed indirectly. For example, “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Your Email Address” rather than Dear Joe.

  • Watch out for emails that report to be from a company such as a Bank, Government Organisation or Retailer and contain spelling mistakes. It’s more than likely a scam. Big Organisations employ copywriters to check e-mail content before they are sent out.