Online Cyber Safety
14 Aug 2020
In the current age of online access and study, it is even more important to be aware of Cyber safety.
Regularly check the privacy on your social media accounts. Some of the default settings are not as “tight” as you may like and are often on a default setting after updates.
Email Scams (Phishing)
Phishing emails attempt to trick you into giving out personal information (e.g. usernames, passwords, personal and credit card details) by appearing to be from a legitimate business, organisation or individuals.
For example, a scammer contacts you pretending to be from a legitimate business such a bank, telephone or internet service provider. You may be contacted by email, social media, phone call, or text message.
The scammer asks you to provide or confirm your personal details. For example, the scammer may say that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error that wiped out customer data. They may also say that there is a prize available if you fill out a survey.
How to protect yourself
Do NOT clink on any links or reply to suspect messages. Look for the secure symbol on an email – https. Check the email address – does it look right or does it contain extra letters? Call the company to verify the email is from them if you are unsure.
Check https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ for types of scams that are circulating, and to report any scams.
If You Have Been Tricked
If you find that you’ve been tricked by a phishing email, immediately change your password. If you used the same password for multiple accounts, make sure you change the password for each account and never use that password in the future.
For more information about phishing emails, visit https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/threats/phishing
Maintain Device Security – Keep everything updated
Keeping your operating system/apps up to date and having antivirus software installed are two of the best ways to protect your device from cyber criminals.
Cyber criminals seek out vulnerabilities in software to exploit and obtain access your device. In most cases, software providers are aware of these vulnerabilities and have released updates to remove these and keep the software secure.
Set Strong Passwords / passphrases
Have you used the same password on more than one account? Do you use the same password on your online banking as you do on your social media accounts? Have you changed it regularly? If these questions ring alarm bells for you then it is time you update your passwords. Many cyber security experts are now advising that a ‘passphrase’ is better than a password, so consider using a ‘passphrase’ instead. You may even find it easier to remember.
Don’t share your password with anyone else. If you did share it at school and have now left and moved on but not updated your password, NOW is the time to change it.
A helpful tip is to use a passphrase or sentence that is meaningful to you – this makes it easier for you to remember but harder for someone else to guess.
You CAN be safe online, but to do that you have to know what is out there, what scams there are and how to best protect yourself.
For information on how to stay safe online check out the following websites:
Australian Government: Stay Smart Online – Passwords and passphrases
Australian Government: https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/programs/stay-smart-online
Australian Government: https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/esafety-guide
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