5 Tips to Protect Yourself Online
Is your online-fixated teenager so obsessed they won’t listen to any concerns you have regarding cybersecurity?
Well, maybe they’ll listen to the Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik.
In this five-minute video, a kind of cybersecurity for beginners, she takes you through 5 easily followed internet security tips that anyone can recognise as being sensible and workable.
Such as creating a password that actually works rather than just being entirely brilliant and like totally unbreakable.
Like, you know, use a 3 for an E…
Who else would ever think of using something so clever, right?
Cybersecurity means Safety
We increasingly live our lives through our internet-linked devices, trusting them with confidential information and signing over our data to companies and their websites.
Either at work or at school, we’re on our computers 9 to 5. And when we come home, or even just take break, we’re straight onto our mobiles, tabs or laptops.
Then there are those latest fads, fashions and memes to follow.
All those sparkling conversations to have.
All those funny or amazing phots to share.
And lying in wait in the background are the cybercriminals who just know that either you or someone in your family – or even a family friend – will make a mistake at some point. A mistake that allows them to breach whatever defences you’ve erected to protect all your information, photos and financial details.
So just how do you keep you and your family safe online?
Cybersecurity Tip no. 1: Passwords
I use my goldfish’s name.
I have the same password for everything, so it’s easy to remember.
It’s based on my birthday.
We all know people who’ve used password-creation schemes they weirdly believe are unthinkable by anyone else.
They’re a hacker’s dream, naturally.
That’s why most of us also know someone who’s experienced a breach of cybersecurity.
Passwords are your keys to your digital life.
Once someone’s worked out a way to copy your password, they’re in!
It’s now possible to add extra layers of internet and computer security.
For instance, through using auto-generated, touch ID, or face-ID safe passwords.
Or utilising a secure password manager.
Remember, too, to always log out when you’re finished.
And don’t ever share your passwords with friends.
Cybersecurity Tip no. 2: Mobile Safety
It goes without saying you should always know where your mobile device is, right?
And have a password on it.
But just in case, be sure to back it up regularly to your home computer or a cloud storage system.
It’s not just that you’ll lose all your information if you mislay your device; it’s an essential safety precaution because hackers don’t just access your information, they can lock it out of your reach behind their own cyberdefences.
To get it back, you have to pay a hefty ransom!
It’s far better, of course, to be simply beware of free public Wi-Fi.
Data thieves are sure to be eavesdropping.
The only safe way to use free public Wi-Fi is via a virtual private network.
This encrypts everything your device transmits.
Cybersecurity Tip no. 3: Malicious Apps
‘You’re a winner!’
How many times have you thought you’ve struck lucky when a pop up jumps out of your screen, telling you the wonderful news that you’ve won a competition you never even knew you’d entered?
There are also phishing emails, and spearfishing phone calls.
When you receive any of these, you may not realise it but you’ve just had a close brush with a cybercriminal.
Realising that we all like to do our best to stay up to date with the very latest technologies and trends, they’ll probably offer you the opportunity to download what appears to be a perfectly genuine, popular app.
Yet you need to be very careful when clicking on unexpected pop ups or downloading apps.
They’re often a clever ploy to fool you into downloading and accepting hidden software that exists only to steal or lock away your information.
To stay safe, you can check email addresses and hyperlinks by either hovering your mouse over them, or tapping and holding on your mobile device.
Better still, to stay safe from malicious software, just say no.
But even here you have to be careful.
Because do you know what the most ingenious pop up is?
‘Block Pop-ups? Yes/No.’
Cybersecurity Tip no. 4: Up to Date Security
‘Remind me tomorrow.’
Be honest; how many times have you clicked on the above option when you’ve received notification of an essential software update?
These updates include wireless security system patches to protect your data from the very latest forms of attack.
So always stay up to date.
Cybersecurity Tip no. 5: Social Safety
You may already know that you should avoid any online polls or quizzes asking for personal information.
But cyberthieves are also skilled at drawing out the information they need from even apparently innocent posts, such as those detailing your daily routine, habits, or travels.
Share too much and you’re making it easy for someone to steal your identity.
You should also know and manage the friends your contacting.
Don’t befriend people you don’t actually know in real life.
And use the range of online cybersecurity tools available to manage the information you’re sharing with people in different groups.
If someone online makes you feel uncomfortable or threatens you, don’t respond and don’t retaliate.
Simply stop communicating with that person immediately.
Put your cybersecurity knowhow to the test
What’s your cybersecurity style?
Do you already know how to protect yourself and your devices?
Have you kept up to date with all the very latest kinds of threat?
Or the very latest innovations in IBM Security?
And as Mayim Bialik says, we’re sure you know someone who’s password is, well, ‘password’.
In which case, they need your help.