30 Nov 2016

How to protect yourself from cyber threats

With technological advancements and our society's dependence on technology, these are boom times for cyber attacks. Learn how to protect yourself from the following cyber threats. 


Mobile security

Your private data is at risk every time you use your mobile phones. That's because cyber criminals can exploit the apps you use to obtain your data. Our mobile phones are also vulnerable to malware, which can log keystrokes and capture screenshots. A good tip is to research the apps before you download them. Also be careful with the emails you open and pictures you download. 

Phishing and social engineering
You receive an email, supposedly from a bank or government organisation, and are then directed to authentic-looking sites. There, you're asked to enter your password, financial data and more. This is what phishing entails, and is part of a larger problem known as social engineering, which involves manipulating emotions to gain access to sensitive information. Hence be cautious of every email you receive, especially those that request you to re-enter private information. Note that banks and government organisations would never ask you to verify any sensitive information online. 

Identity theft
Did you know your identity is at risk through everyday materials? These include your home address, social media photos and videos, and financial information. Identity fraudsters may try to steal your personal information and apply credit cards and loan accounts in your name. To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, be stringent about giving out your personal information to others and maintain careful records of your financial accounts. 

An accidental click on an infected pop-up ad could lead you to purchasing a fake antivirus software, and in a worse case scenario, cyber criminals could hold your computer hostage and attempt to extort payment. While some attacks put time pressure on you, others may force you to purchase a program to de-encrypt your data. The rise of ransomware means prevention is the best strategy. Use reputable antivirus software, maintain a strong firewall and back up your data often. If you receive a ransomware note, disconnect from the Internet to prevent your data from being transmitted back to criminals. 

Follow these steps to be cyber secure:

- Create strong passwords for your accounts using a combination of numbers, symbols as well as upper and lower case letters

- Don't open suspicious emails asking for sensitive data

- Destroy sensitive documents

- Secure your internet connection with a virtual private network (VPN) if you need to use public Wi-Fi

- Ensure your antivirus software is updated