In the past few days Scamwatch have put up warnings about yet another financial scam involving both PayPal and the ANZ. Last year Australians reported losses to scams of $176 091 805. You need to make sure both you and your business are doing everything you can to minimise the risks of being scammed.
Here are 6 Tips to help keep you safe online and they apply to all users.
- When shopping online, check reviews, do your research and only pay with secure payment methods.
- Be wary of free downloads and website access, such as music, games, movies and adult sites as they may install harmful programs without you knowing.
- Always keep your computer security up to date. Only buy anti-virus software from a reputable source.
- Choose passwords and pins that would be difficult for others to guess, and change them regularly. Here are 10 quick tips to point you in the right direction for increasing your online security.
- Use a different password for each of your important accounts. * Using the same password for everything is equivalent to giving hackers a master key.
- Size does matter! The longer the better with experts now recommending at least 12 characters minimum is necessary to keep the nasties at bay.
- Mix it up! Don’t just rely solely on letters or numbers. For optimal security use a mix of both upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols/punctuation. While B0($kmPxc25 may look like a giant mess or the result of a cat on your keyboard it does in fact make it very difficult for both people and machines to guess.
- Avoid substitutions like the plague. While looking good and fairly smart they are, in fact, some of the easiest to crack. Here you are looking at combinations such as 3l3ph1nt and p5ppyd4g.
- Don’t use personal or familiar words. Given there is an awful lot of our personal information floating around in cyberspace if you start to think the names of family members or your pets would be a good option they are incredibly easy to crack. As are those simple words such as twitterpassword or password1234. We may feel these options are so simple they won’t be tried and we will keep thinking that right up until our accounts have been compromised.
- Don’t give out your password to anyone either in person or in an email.
- Keep your backup password options up to date. Just in case you forget it one day (or every time I log into one of my less frequently used accounts) and you can then retrieve it with minimal fuss.
- Use the same principals for your secret questions. Even if someone can guess the answer there is no way they will be able to figure out how you entered it.
- If you can get an authenticator do it! It gives you a second layer of protection. Just don’t put it in a safe place!
- Don’t proudly display your passwords where other people can see them. No post-it-note displays with neatly written passwords and account details. It is also best to avoid saving them on your PC/mobile/laptop/tablet in a handy file called Passwords. We all know someone who does this and while yes you may have them all in one handy location we can just as easily borrow them for later.
- Never, ever give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer!
- Don’t click on any links or open attachments from emails claiming to be from your bank, the ATO or another trusted organisation asking you to update or verify your details – just delete the emails.
Have a great day!