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Keep yourself safe online – final recommendations

Padlock on digital screen

by Joe Lonergan

This is the final part of our series on keeping safe online.

We have already spoken about Phishing and Ransomware, the two most common types of computer fraud.

To summarise Phishing is a cybercrime in which an individual or business is contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial fraud.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files until a ransom is paid, and is usually installed by an unsuspecting victim clicking on a phishing email.

By now after reading our first two articles you should have a good idea of how to avoid these types of pitfalls.

Passwords, Pin Codes, and Multi-Factor Authentication
Finally, we are going to talk about good password practice and keeping your device safe.

To stay safe online, users must carefully select unique and complex passwords. So, what is a password? A password is the primary method used to confirm the identity of a user to gain access to numerous online platforms and personal information and a password can also be used to gain access to a device like a smartphone or laptop. By having good passwords an online user can keep themselves safe online and can also protect their data and business if connected to one.

Unfortunately, many users have bad password hygiene and tend to use the same password for numerous platforms and even use the same one for their work accounts, this is a big no-no! If a malicious individual gains access to this password through phishing emails or by other means they will have unauthorised and unlimited access to the unsuspecting user’s online world.

Tips for creating a good password

  • Passwords at a minimum should contain at least 8 characters, using upper case, lower case, and a mix of numbers and special characters.
  • Try and refrain from using your name, kids’ names, pets’ names, favourite football teams, favourite sports star, street address, or the number of your house.
  • Where possible use biometrics like Touch ID, Face ID, and 2 Factor authentication, biometric logins are not only unique, but they’re also quick and easy to use, especially for those of us that are blind or vision impaired.
  • Never use the same password across multiple accounts.
  • Never write down a password in a notebook or in a document inside your device.
  • Consider using a password manager like one password or Apple Keychain to store your passwords.
  • Do not share your passwords with Friends or colleagues.

Now that online fraud is more common than ever, and most of us do our business online, right now might be a good time to review your personal password policy.