Archive for the ‘At Work’ Category

Online Safety Tips

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
posted by Laura

Online safety is very important and it is a matter that concerns us all. As with other things, we might fall into the trap of thinking that this cannot happen to us personally – until it does.

A little bit of caution goes a long way – so keep reading for a few practical, very handy tips for protecting your personal information and staying safe online:

  • Use anti-virus software and firewalls – basic rule for safe online browsing.
  • Pick strong passwords. Avoid the trap of picking out simple passwords. They might be easy to remember, but they are also weak and pretty easy to break. Definitely keep away from common words or simple character arrangements like “123456″ or “abc123″ as hackers usually use software to figure out passwords and these programs can run through most common words in just a minute or two. For a strong password, use a minimum of 8 characters. We recommend this article for tips on hard to break passwords and Microsoft’s guide to adding complexity to access codes.
  • Finances: You should be very cautious with your personal financial information – especially when using public networks. Make it a rule never to use public networks when doing financial transactions. Personal and financial details should be only sent over a network that you know for sure is secure. Also, it might be wise to type in important URL yourself – do not follow any suspicious links.
  • Be wary of messages that request an urgent response with personal and financial information. This kind of e-mails usually represents scams and you should avoid them. Also, never click on links from e-mail or source that you do not trust.
  • When doing payments over the internet, always look for ‘https’ in the address bar and a padlock – these mark a secure website connection.
  • Use separate e-mail addresses: Instead of linking all your accounts – Facebook, Twitter, newsgroups, forums, shopping and banking sites to one single e-mail address, use multiple addresses – for example one for your social activities and one for your financial information. Your social address will draw more attention than your other one and if it is hacked into, it will not be as much of a mess as having your financial details unwillingly shared.
  • When shopping online, you need to be extra careful. Regardless of how attractive and trust-inspiring an online shop is, avoid those that ask only for cash, cheque or virtual cash payments. Buy only from sites that accept card payments and use only credit cards – no debit cards. Also, ensure that the shop has a physical address, ideally in your country.
  • Use 2-step verification for your accounts – when and if available. Facebook and Google for example offer this, offering you an extra layer of security. The 2-step verification requires your personal phone number, besides the username and password. So even if someone is trying to hack into your account, they will not be able to because they do not have access to your phone.
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