With the festive season upon us, it’s a good time to remind friends and family to be aware of online scammers and cyber criminals.
If you look at the stats from the Australian Unisys Security Index, the top 3 security concerns are:
- 57% Identity theft: concerned about unauthorised access to, or misuse of, personal information
- 53% Internet Virus/Hacking
- 52% Bank Card Fraud: concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details
Unfortunately this is exactly what scammers and cyber criminals target during the festive season as everyone is trying to buy Christmas gifts online and hoping for a bargain.
Scammers and cyber criminals are very adept at coming up with new and inventive ways of tricking us into clicking that link and supplying our credentials or credit card information. I have seen emails and websites recently that look just like the real thing.
Below are some simple tips that we should be sharing with those that we know to stay safe online:
- Only shop on secure websites: Always make sure you are at the site you want by looking for “https://www…” in the address bar. Note the “s,” means you have a secure connection to that site. Look for the lock in the address bar
- Protect all devices: Password protect your devices including your Wi-Fi network, smartphones, and other smart devices such as smart watches or TVs. Don’t forget to use strong passwords that are at least 8 characters and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols
- Update your software: Make sure any apps and software you use, including your web browsers and operating software, are updated regularly. Many updates are provided to address security issues as well as new features. Failure to update may give criminals with an opportunity to hack into your computer and steal data
- Create backups: Bad things can and do happen. Regularly backup important data so that you can recover these if your computer gets infected by ransomware. Never pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that you will get your data back
- Don’t fall for email scams: Don’t click on a link in an email. Clicking a link in a fraudulent email can take you to a phishing site that will look so real it will fool you into entering your login information. Type in the URL instead
With these simple tips, we can all stay safe online. Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is!