The Internet and technology have penetrated nearly every aspect of our daily lives. This has created many positive conveniences, but also provides criminals with opportunities to reach new victims.
It is important to protect yourself and your devices from criminals who wish to exploit them. However, technology is constantly evolving and criminals are always finding new ways to manipulate it, so you must always remain vigilant and adopt new safety measures on a regular basis.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe. There are also many other valuable resources offering online safety advice, and we encourage you to use all available information to protect yourself and your activities.
Reduce spam (which can contain viruses or be used for phishing)
- Keep your spam filter switched on;
- Be suspicious of unsolicited advertising and offers;
- Be on the alert if you do not know the sender;
- A trusted website or online payment processor will never ask you to confirm sensitive information like passwords or account details;
- Delete any suspected spam immediately and do NOT open any attachments.
Be alert to phishing scams
A phishing email may appear to come from a trusted source. Some warning signs are if the e-mail:
- Is sent from a free webmail address, not from an organization’s official address;
- Opens with a generic greeting, and is not personalized with your name;
- Contains a threat, for example that your account is not secure or may be shut down;
- Requests personal information such as username, password or bank details;
- Includes a link to a website with a URL (web address) that is different from the organization’s official address.
- Check the URL in the browser address bar and look for any spelling mistakes or unexpected names;
- Be suspicious if a website does not give any contact details;
- Before giving any personal or financial details, check that you are on a secure link. Look out for the ‘s’ in ‘https’, and a padlock symbol.
Keep your computer safe from viruses and other technical problems by using the following:
- Anti-virus software;
- OS Update (for security patches and bug fixes);
- Anti-spyware tools.
Other steps to take
- If you install file-sharing software, ensure it's done properly;
- If you have a wireless network, make sure it's encrypted;
- Block browser pop ups or try using different browsers;
- Open attachments only if they're sent by people you know and trust;
- Create strong passwords – at least eight characters long and including a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation marks or symbols;
- Keep your passwords secret; never give them to anyone.