At some point we’ve all received an email or text message with an elaborate and usually sad story about inheritance that’s trapped in a foreign country. We’re promised a large share if we help out. So, what are we asked for? Our bank account details.

Not all malware, spam and phishing attacks are as obvious as the “419” scams, which is why it’s up to each individual to take cybersecurity seriously. Keep yourself and your private information safe by following the 10 steps below.

  1. It won’t happen to meMost of us feel that we’re not famous enough, prominent enough or wealthy enough to be targeted by a hacker, but the truth is that anyone can become a victim. The first step to protecting yourself is awareness.
  2. Antivirus softwareIt’s essential that you have some kind of software protecting your devices and make sure that when you are asked to instal updates, you do it. This will help protect you against the very latest malware.
  3. Strong passwordsWe have passwords for everything these days, so it’s tempting to use something simple (like “12345” or “password”) or have the same password across multiple sites, but it’s highly inadvisable. Make your passwords unique, using both uppercase and lowercase letters, use special characters and numbers and make it at least 8 characters long. Also, don’t share it with anyone.
  4. Public Wi-FiFree Wi-Fi is great in a country with high data costs, but avoid the temptation to use it. Hackers could setup a network that you will unknowingly log onto, making yourself vulnerable to attack. If you use the Wi-Fi at your office or home, turn off the setting on your phone when you leave.
  5. Social mediaAre you posting about your upcoming holiday? Have you uploaded a picture of the new watch you got on your birthday? Be cautious of the information you post on your profiles and who you accept as friends and followers. Check your privacy and notification settings to ensure that they are set on private.
  6. Email consciousThere are billions of emails sent every single day, making people quite comfortable with this form of communication. This familiarity is perhaps why people are careless when it comes to clicking on links or opening attachments. If you don’t know who the email is from, don’t open it.
  7. Plugged inWe share content with each other through flash disks, external hard drives and smartphones, but be aware that these can infect your devices with malware. Protect yourself by having antivirus software.
  8. Internet bankingDoing a bit of online shopping or paying an account? Don’t use a public computer or public Wi-Fi as these generally have fewer web security measures in place. Only use a network or computer that you trust.
  9. Secure websitesTo keep your personal information and details like your credit card number secure, check that the website you’re on is encrypting your data. The address field must start with “https” and there should be a padlock icon visible.
  10. Offline awarenessWhile you may take all the necessary steps to protect yourself when you’re online, be aware of criminals phoning you and requesting private information. Don’t give out any personal data. If you think the call could be legitimate, phone the company directly to verify what they need.

Many of us have multiple devices and we’re on the Internet constantly throughout the day, making it hard to guarantee that criminals won’t be able to get your information. However, if you take cybersecurity seriously and follow these tips, you at least vastly decrease the possibility of being hacked.

Whether you want more information or you’re looking for the name of good antivirus software, call GetMore. We’re here to do the hard work, so you don’t have to! Call us today on 084 11 438 48.

Sources: Best VPN Analysis, ZDNet and UC Berkeley.

Image source: Neelson IT.

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