Top 3 tips to keep safe online

Ever wondered how the experts keep safe from viruses and other cyberthreats?

It’s not from getting thousands of dollars of software installed to protect systems nor is it expensive hardware or rooms fitted out like computer labs. I will share the top 3 tips that experts use to stay safe online. It is cheap (sometimes free) and very effective.

  1. System updates : Plugging security holes in your operating system (Windows, OSX or Linux) is very important when it comes to getting a solid footing in secure computing. As security flaws are discovered in the increasingly complex operating systems, developers release patches or updates to close those security holes that could be exploited by the bad guys. These updates are free and can be set to happen automatically. These updates can also include updates to antivirus and firewall features built into Windows.
    Difficulty : Setting up automatic updates – Simple to moderate. After that there is nothing to do.
  2. Backups : People seem to put this chore right up there with visiting the dentist mostly because they do not know what is involved. It does take a litte setting up and it is recommended that the backups are tested but the resulting peace of mind cannot be overstated.
    There is a simple concept in keeping the perfect backup for the vital data we keep on our computers these days called the 3-2-1 backup.
    3 copies of the data kepts on at least 2 different storage media and 1 backup should be stored offsite.
    EZiWireless can assist you in getting your backup strategy up to the 3-2-1 standard and even provide an automated offiste backup service. Well worth investing and can be viewed as insurance for your critical documents, irreplaceable photos and memories.
    Difficulty : Moderate if you DIY, easy if you get an expert to do it.
  3. Behaviour : This is what separates the safe from the reckless. This is like our behaviour when we drive a car. All the safety equipment, airbags, seatbelts, collision warning systems and crumple zones built into a car count for nothing if you are reckless with your driving.
    This is the same when it comes to operating a computer. The most common point of entry used by viruses and malware is through tricking people into opening a file or clicking a link that will install and run the nasty programs that wreak havoc. This comes down to employing a few simple tactics when it comes to dealing with links and attachments we come across every day.

    1. If you didn’t ask for it, you shouln’t click it. Attachments or links that arrive in email of instant messages have the greatest potential for things to go wrong. Even if you know the person that sent the message, you should be wary of attachments and links. If you really want to open the attachment you should first ask the sender if they intended to send the message. If they did, then you are at a lower risk. If they say they didn’t send the message you should delete the message and let them know that they might be compromised. If you get a message from a bank, utility company or government department then you should visit the website of that organisation by opening your web browser and typing in the address yourself. DO NOT CLICK LINKS IN THE MESSAGE!
      Difficulty : Easy
    2. Start with wrong answers to confirm the right site. Common threats to identiy security are via phishing where a user is tricked into giving account details to a fake site. If you want to check if a site is in fact legitimate then make sure you put in the wrong username and password on your first attempt. If the site is legitimate then you will get an “incorrect password” message. Fake sites will simply move onto the next stage of the scam (with the wrong information) and you will know they are a scam. This has a twofold effect. You stay safe and the scammers attempts will yield zero benefits.
      Difficulty : Easy
    3. Keep your online friends at arm’s length. We all have that friend who is good for a funny email or someone who loves to share so much with us. They make life interesting and fun. They are also a big threat to your cyber security profile. Always be aware of what they are sending you again watching out for links and files. They could be a good friend but you don’t know how secure they are and if they have been compromised by a virus. They could unknowingly be sending you files that will put you both at risk. Send them this page so they can get safe for their sake and yours. Try to encourage a culture of cyber safety by sharing tips like the ones in this post.
      Difficulty : Easy but could make you re-evaluate your online friendships.

I have trained other people in how to keep safe
online and I can coach others in how to develop safe habits. Useful both the home and business environments, these skills can arm you with the knowledge everyone should have when it comes to working and playing on the internet safely. If you would like to have me attend a meeting or hold a cyber security workshop for your business, community group or club then please get in touch.

UPDATE : Because we are all on the internet, I can offer this to everyone around the world via Skype, Google Hangouts or conference call.