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Cyber Security Tips for Individuals

Welcome to our regular tips and tricks on all things digital!

This week we are sharing 7 tips on how individuals can be safer online and be more cyber secure.

The thing we all need to remember, whether our banks are online or not, is we all have money thanks to the hard work we do, and some people in the world will unfortunately take advantage of that. We also are in danger of our information being used in nefarious ways.

Because of this, we all need to be careful of our presence and information online.

Here's the top tips for you

  1. Lock Your Device

Whether you’re at work or out and about – ensure you lock your laptop/tablet/phone/other device every time you step away from it! Even if you know the people around you, get into the habit. And ensure certainly on your phone you have a security setting of a passcode and a face recognition/fingerprint recognition option – if this is available to you.

And – honestly, it’s probably best to always have your phone on you – locked of course if you’re not using it.

  1. Safe Online Shopping

Never shop online from a device that isn’t yours (unless you absolutely trust it – it could be your mum or dad or grandparent’s device and you’re helping them shop, but generally try to make sure the device is yours!).

Things to remember also:

  • Use a safe network
  • Use strong passwords, and use a password manager (see below)
  • Be aware of what websites you shop at
  • Check your bank account regularly, or check the banking App, so you keep an eye on your transactions.
  1. Password Protection

These days a lot of websites need a certain number of characters – letters, numbers, and other symbols. This is because the longer the password, and more complicated, the harder it is to hack.

How many of us use one or two similar passwords and just change up the numbers or symbols?

One way to start getting better at password protection is to look at getting a password manager, so you can have more varied passwords and yet still have track of them – so you don’t forget any!

Here’s a few password managers to investigate:

  • Dashlane — #1 overall password manager in 2022. The free plan limits you to 50 passwords on 1 device, but it also provides extras like auto-filling, password sharing, and password auditing.
  • LastPass — Unlimited passwords on unlimited devices, but you need to choose between mobile or desktop devices.
  • Avira Password Manager — Unlimited storage on unlimited devices, plus an intuitive interface.

 Th@nk5 4 r3@d1ng... N0w s0rt 0ut y0ur p@55w0rd5! @nd r3m3mb3r, th3 l0ng3r th3 p@55w0rd, @nd m0r3 compl1c@t3d, th3 b3tt3r y0ur s3cur1ty.

Did you still recognise those words?

  1. Look After your Sensitive Accounts

That’s your:

  • Email Account(s)
  • Online banking / Paypal / Other Banking Accounts
  • Any Online Shopping accounts – Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and more.
  • Any account where you’ve put in your card details (any shopping and subscriptions)
  • Any account that has sensitive info (address, phone no., etc.)

It’s a good idea for these to secure them not only with a password, but – if it’s available, a two-factor authentication. This is where you get sent to your phone or email a code or a link to accept the login.

  1. Friend Requests

Do you get lots of Friend Requests – or even business/organisation/general requests on social media? Don’t go just accepting them!

On Facebook – make sure it’s someone you know and have met in real life first, or if you know it’s a friend of a friend or business colleague.

On Instagram – very similar as above to Facebook, but another thing to remember is that there are a lot of random organisations or general people who try and gain more followers by adding you as a follower, but they could also be faking another business. If you know this, report and block them by going into the Instagram settings.

  1. Email Phishing & Spam

Be wary of any email that comes into your inbox claiming to be a person you know or a business asking you for your information.

It’s a good idea to check the ‘email address’ that the email is sent from, and to check all the footer details. Guaranteed there will be oddities, whether that’s spelling mistakes, odd contact details, or it could be an obvious strange message.

Sure, you can do what some comedians have done and respond to those Spam emails and mess them around a bit, but it’s probably easier to report the email account and block them.

If the email looks like it is from a friend or family member, it’s good to send them a quick direct message, as it may be their own email account has been hacked.

And these days – Phishing and Spam isn’t just into your email accounts. You may get WhatsApp messages or Text Messages. Check the information carefully, and if you’re ever in doubt contact the person or organisation separately – never respond to the number they have given you.

  1. Software Updates and Anti-virus

Another way to help towards keeping yourself safe online is to make sure your computer software is regularly up-to-date, as companies update their own security settings to block potential issues, so the more up-to-date you are, the better the security!

But don’t forget to investigate Anti-virus software also, and paid is better than free. Make sure your system is as protected as possible.

Want to know more about Cyber Security? Check into our regular events or contact us directly by checking which of our programmes for Devon and Somerset you could be eligible for for.

Click here for more information.

Next time, watch out for tips on how you as a business can be safer online.