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Four Top Cybersafety Tips Everyone Can Use

Four simple things - that everyone can do - and every business should do too - to keep you cybersafe.

Parents, grandparents, young people, children and businesses, all need to do these basic checks and implement them now...

1. Keep your computer software up-to-date

There are still thousands of computers world-wide running out-dated versions of Windows XP that are effectively controlled by criminal gangs. Once infiltrated with rogue software, they can be used to remotely send junk emails, launch "Denial of Service" attacks, or worse.

So, either update to the latest operating system or disconnect the device from the internet. This is particularly important for things like 'stand alone webcams' which are easily hacked. Read this chilling report from The Washington Post in 2013.

You may even wish to use a tissue or a post-it note to cover the camera on your tablet or computer - in order to be 100% sure.

2. Use multiple passwords

If you use the same password for many sites, it only takes just one bogus site to learn your email and password and sell them on, and potentially all other sites where you use the same log on details will be compromised.

Instead, use a unique password on all your important websites (email and online banking plus your facebook account?)

Here is some advice from Microsoft on how to build a safe password or advice from Google.


3. Avoid 'free' or competition websites

Never give your email, phone number or personal details (mother's maiden name, for instance) to any 'free' or competition websites. 

Many sites exist that give you "free" offers or content that require you to give personal details they can harvest and sell on. This practice is particularly prevalent amongst, but is not restricted to, suppliers of pornography and cold-calling foreign "market research" companies.

4. Be very careful with 'free' Wi-Fi networks in cafes, bars and libraries

Be extremely cautious about using any "free" Wi-Fi network, and never never use one to carry out financial transactions. If you are in a public place, once you have connected to an unsecured network it is extremely simple for anyone to monitor the traffic between your device and the internet.

This may reveal information about yourself, any suppliers you use to place an order, or the banks you use. Any such information, even if not directly giving full details, can be used to target you for further attacks.

Instead, use your mobile Wi-Fi connection - it might be slower, but it is definitely safer as only you have the password to access the data.

5. Please share...

These four very simple tips are great examples of how we can - as a community - make ourselves safer. But we need to get the word out there... so please share as widely as possible.

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