Welcome to National Cyber Security Awareness Week, an Australia government initiative.
iRespectOnline is proud to be one of the 1400 partners helping to spread the message to be safe online. This is our second year and this year we are helping spread the message by joining in with local primary schools to share information and displays.
So what is Cyber Security Awareness Week about? Quite simply its about ensuring that the personal and financial information that you enter online is kept safe and secure.
Most people who use the internet would subscribe to various newsletters and websites, and many use internet banking to pay their bills and transfer funds between accounts. Online shopping is extremely popular with some people preferring it over shopping instore. The popularity of online market places such as eBay and Etsy where goods are brought and sold between buyers and sellers is another area where your information is being sent over the internet. It’s important that you are aware of the possible risks and make more informed choices about where and how you transact online.
However it is not just when shopping or browsing the web that you may give up information. Whenever you add an “app” either to a mobile device or on a social media platform such as facebook, you are sharing that information with the creators of the app.
Here are the Top 10 tips from the government’s Stay Smart Online site. We encourage everyone to remember these ten simple tips to improve your online security:
- Install and update your security software and set it to scan regularly
- Turn on automatic updates on all your software, particularly your operating system and applications
- Use strong passwords and different passwords for different uses
- Stop and think before you click on links and attachments
- Take care when buying online – research the supplier and use a safe payment method
- Only download “apps” from reputable publishers and read all permission requests
- Regularly check your privacy settings on social networking sites
- Stop and think before you post any photos or financial information online
- Talk with your child about staying safe online, including on their smart phone or mobile device
- Report or talk to someone if you feel uncomfortable or threatened online – download the Government’s Cybersafety Help Button
During this week we will be discussing each of these tips and other relevant cyber security information. You are most welcome to ask questions and comment on the materials. You can also engage with us on our facebook page and visit the Stay Smart Online site here where you can search for events that are on near you! Stay Smart Online also has a facebook page where you can engage.
So let’s look at tips no 1 & 2: Install and update your security software and set it to scan regularly & Turn on automatic updates on all your software, particularly your operating system and applications.
It’s really imporant that you do manage your security software and don’t just leave it until you get a problem, set it to receive automatic updates, then program it to scan your computer during the night. What’s that you say? You have an Apple computer and you never get a virus? Well although Apple operating system is very robust, their are still regular updates sent out which are to ensure that programs are kept secure. You can check out the latest information on Apple Security here. Windows users MUST add a third party security system to their computers and laptops as unfortunately those who create viruses and malware are experts at breaching any built in features. Windows 8 is a move towards better security as all apps must be produced by a legitimate developer, but it still has teething problems.
Many systems come with a security package installed which may expire after a set period and require you to pay a fee to continue. Please check that you have some form of security on your computer. You can download free security programs on the web although it is not recommended. If you do HOWEVER, be careful! Sites where you can download security programs are often hosted on pages where there are lots of confusing and flashing advertising which sounds like something you need, but may in fact be malware. Purchasing reputable security software directly from the distributor or a reputable store is a much safer option.
Don’t forget your mobile devices either. Make sure you keep all applications and your operating systems up to date. The biggest emerging security risk appears to be on Android platform phones and tablets. I believe it is possible to buy security for Android phones but at this stage I do not have enough information to make any recommendations. With the massive growth of Android based smartphones, I would expect that these issues will start to show. It is vital that if on the Android system you only purchase from reputable stores such as Google play. I would ask android owners however to be wary even soas recent studies showed that many apps do carry malware which can then attack your pc Use your common sense and stick to apps from known developers and be wary of free apps. We will cover this more when we reach tip 6!
Once again enjoy National Cyber Security Week and Stay Smart Online!
Fiona Lucas is the founder of iRespectOnline. She is passionate about helping small businesses to grow, thrive and build reputation online. Fiona is an ethical marketer providing bespoke online marketing strategies to enable businesses to leverage social media for growth. Underpinning everything she does, as Australia’s first online reputation evangelist she is passionate about driving social change towards a more respectful online environment.
She was named in Mamamia’s Top 50 women to watch online 2013, Finalist Geelong Small Business Awards 2017 – Social Media Influencer and is a virtual community manager for Social Media Marketing World. Fiona presents on digital futures, cybersafety and digital marketing.
Fiona is the author of Futureproof Your Kids – a parents guide to the social media playground.