How safe are you online?
24 March 2017
A few weeks ago we had a pretty serious cyber malfunction at the Girl did Good website. Somehow we had managed to pick up a virus from cyberspace which meant we had to shut down for two weeks to get it all fixed.
If you clicked onto the website during that time you’ll probably have seen loads of really annoying pop ups come up on your screen. And that’s all it was, someone was trying to increase their advertising reach. They managed to create code in the website that created all of this. Not great at all but it could have been so much worse.
Now it’s all better and we’ve had the time to reflect and wonder…
What went wrong?!?
I have always been wary of the dangers out there – fake emails and text messages. Things that seem too good to be true usually are etc.
I have sentences for passwords and each one is different. I never log onto anything secure in a public place, I always make sure my software updates are done and im 100% cautions of keeping my data protected and what I post online.
According to a recent post by Wordfence.com we have a pretty high chance of our data being stolen or hacked into no matter what we do to prevent it. This is largely because of the companies storing it and the security measures they have in place.
How could this possibly affect me?
A breech of our personal and/or professional cyber security can affect the following aspects of our life:
- Data Protection via our mobile devices, email and social media. Once they’re in they can steal as much info about you as possible and then go out into the world and be you.
- Financial loss through our bank accounts and savings following on from above – if they have your payment data they can pay for things in your name. That could be your credit card, current account or they could even take out a loan in your name. Crazy!
- Personal and professional reputation. Looking for a job or interviewing at a university soon? The all look you up on social media these days to see how you behave in your personal life. How would they feel if they found some explicit images or extremist views posted?
Our relationship with technology is ingrained into every aspect of our lives these days. It’s super easy to see how one breech of security could easily affect many different areas of our lives and could even reach as far as our friends and family as well.
So what can we do to protect ourselves?
According to Wordfence there are still ways we can protect ourselves and we should be doing at least some of the following:
- Keeping en eye out for Phishing & Spear Phishing – i.e emails that look like they’re from a bank or a company you know and trust asking for personal details via that specific email. Spear Phishing is more specifically tailored to you and whoever sends an email like this has been able to do a lot of research on you somehow. If in doubt call the company direct. Never open an attachment in a funny-looking email.
- The same with weird phone calls asking for personal data. They can be very convincing but do your best not to fall for it and call the company direct instead.
- Don’t create data you don’t have to and delete data no longer necessary.
- If you no longer need old hard drives or laptops etc make sure you wipe all data off them completely before you get rid.
- Back up your back up and make sure it’s only connected to your computer when you’re updating the back up. This will prevent hackers holding your data to ransom.
- Use a password manager – this will help you to create unique passwords in every online service you use.
- Protect your social media accounts – have you set up security measures that allow you to get back in if you are hacked? Have you set up any privacy settings?
- Always be careful of other people’s posts that you share and the info you put online. Remember Kim Kardashians Paris robbery after posting a pic of one of her diamond rings?
- Keep any websites or blog sites you use locked down. If you use any plugins or widgets make sure they’re always up to date and if there is an option to donate or pay for the software then do it.
- Keep an eye on your bank and credit card and mobile phone statements for anything that doesn’t look right. Credit card fraud is fairly painless to sort out but what if your savings account was cleared out?
The British Government has recently published statistics showing that in 2016, cyber crime now outweighs physical theft by 2million to 686,000 offences.
Isn’t it time you get a little more serious about cyber security? We definitely are!
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