🎄Keep Safe Online this Festive Season 🎄
As a managed services provider, we often talk about keeping your business secure from cyberthreats but it is just as important to protect your own personal data. In the coming weeks, there will be a spike in online shopping with Black Friday offers, festive shopping and end-of-year sales and it is important to stay secure.
But it’s not just an issue for the next few weeks. We are surrounded by technology in our everyday lives, we rely on it and the idea of not having internet connectivity even for a day doesn’t bear thinking about, for some of us.
How am I vulnerable to cybersecurity threats?
- We’re social! People are social creatures by nature, hence the popularity of social media. Social websites and apps can be both a blessing and a curse. At this time of year, they are a hotbed of too-good-to-be-true offers (this year’s most popular Christmas gift at less than half price for example) and clicking these links usually opens phishing links. Other links can also be used to hack accounts, which then share more links to the hacked account’s friends list – which people then click, and they are hacked too and so the cycle continues.
- We’re too trusting! This is especially so with information purporting to be from someone of authority and it is why “social engineering” is a popular tactic used by cybercriminals. They send phishing messages with the goal of gaining login details, personal information, card details etc. Or a link which could download malware to your device. Cybercriminals doing this will also employ pressure tactics to push you to give the information or click the link without thinking. For example, someone who telephones pretending to be from your internet service provider.
- We’re mobile! Most of us own a smartphone or tablet now, but few of us actually protect these devices from cyberthreats.
- We make mistakes! We know we should have a strong password which is different for each website or online account, but some of us mistakenly use the same password and login credentials for lots of different websites and accounts. Another mistake is forgetting to check our devices and machines for the latest patching and updates.
What could happen if I fall victim to a cyberthreat at home?
- Your devices could be compromised with malware, and you could be without them for a significant amount of time.
- Loss of access to websites and social accounts
- Financial loss if someone steals your bank details or if you send money to buy those too-good-to-true offers. There could also be a loss in your time being used to sort out any of these problems causing you further financial loss due to needing to take time off work etc.
- The mental impact. This shouldn’t be overlooked, feeling like you have fallen victim to cybercrime can be devastating.
How can I stay safe online at home?
- Use strong and unique passwords – use a password manager to help with this! Most smartphones have these built in.
- Use Multifactor Authentication (MFA) on your online accounts if you have the option.
- Know the signs of phishing and report any phishing attempts (find out more about phishing here).
- Make sure your operating software is up-to-date and any programs and apps are patched. These updates sometimes have patches solely for cybersecurity which should always be installed as soon as possible.
Don’t forget these measures should be used all year round, not just in the run up to the festive season!