Cyber threats: Are you prepared?

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creepyWith all the recent cyber hacks in the news, we thought it was a great time for some quick cyber-safety tips. You can never be too cautious, especially if you’re shopping online. Follow these tips to protect your personal information and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Think before you act. Be wary of “too good to be true” deals. Free concert or sports tickets, cheap team merchandise, cheap collectibles – if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly. Make sure that you authorized all of the charges listed.
  • Shop only at reputable online retailers. Look for the padlock symbol or for URLs that start with “https” or “shttp.” For auction sites such as eBay, check the seller’s reviews.
  • Be cautious online. Do not click on suspicious links or download items from unknown sources. Only use secure wireless networks and websites (those that start with https://) when conducting sensitive activities online.

It is also important to always take steps to stay safe online, including:

  • Setting strong passwords. Especially for sensitive online accounts (such as online banking), make sure your passwords are complex and unique. Do not set passwords that will be easy for cyber criminals to guess.
  • Keeping a clean machine. Keep your software and operating system updated. This will help your computer better fight against malware.
  • Locking your devices when you’re away. Prevent others from accessing your computer and mobile devices by locking your devices when they are not in use.
  • Using social media carefully (if at all). Do not divulge sensitive information (such as your address or birthday) over social media. Set your social network privacy settings so only your real friends and family can see your information.
    • Social networks are a great way of keeping in touch but you should think carefully before adding someone to your list of online friends or posting information that you wouldn’t be happy with your parent/carer or teacher seeing.

Remember:

  • once you’ve shared something online you have lost control of it
  • people may still be able to see things you’ve posted online, months or years later
  • some people may use what you’ve posted online in ways you don’t like – or couldn’t even imagine
  • it’s far easier for hackers to steal your information online than in person – so there are many more hackers online than in your neighborhood. The likelihood of encountering one online is higher than in person.

After reading these tips, do you want to go off the grid of social media? Here’s a site that can help you do just that!

For more information on social media safety, check out this article.

Bottom line: BE CAREFUL online.