Tip 3: Use Strong Passwords and different Passwords for different uses
We live in a world full of passwords and pin numbers and it can get hard to remember them all. It is really important however that you do regularly change passwords for your email accounts and other online programs. Although it can feel like an inconvenience and a bit of a pain to do, it really does help protect your accounts from spammers and hackers.
If you use the same password for your accounts and it gets picked up by a hacker then you have really given over control of all your information.
Using a strong password and changing it regularly is the best protection you can give yourself.
Make sure you keep up to date with security alerts (you can sign up to the stay smart online alert service here)
Your security can be jeopardised because a business you subscribe too gets hacked. Just recenting LivingSocial.com was hacked and 50 million passwords belonging to members were breached. This of course means that the names and email addresses matching the passwords were also breached. If you have an account with Living social ( who supply coupon /daily deals ) then you should immediately change your password.
Tips for passwords:
1. Make sure you use a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation marks ie art@23$% to make your password harder to crack.
2. Don’t use your street address, pet names or date of birth in your password as they can be easier to crack.
3. You can use a base name to make it easier, but change around it and modify it so it is not a word from the dictionary. Changing and L to a 1 for example . For example FLY could be used as 345F1Y##! or &#F1Y289 etc.
4. Don’t forget to change passwords on computers, email, bank accounts, subscriptions to online services and your modem.
5. Keep details of passwords secure. It is not adviseable to have a document called “passwords” on your computer for instance. Keep the details separate and secure. If you have a lot of passwords you might consider purchasing one of the great password tools available for this purpose. roboform, 1password, lastpass are examples of such online tools. These tools store and generate passwords for you. (*these are purely examples and I cannot vouch for any of them, please do your own research into using any of these tools).
You can find lots more safety tips here.
Tip 4: Stop and think before you click on attachments
There is a real risk of infecting your computer or compromising your information through clicking on attachments which contain malware . There are many “phishing” sites which mimic a real website or email but ask you to enter your logon details. Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide your details through an email. Clicking on pictures which promise “click and share and you will be amazed at what happens..” well they are just to get you sharing information which may well actually be grabbing details from your contact lists and setting up to spam all your friends. A static photo will never “do something” so just delete these types of pictures.
If you get an email from someone you don’t know, particularly without a subject then be wary about opening it. Likewise if you get one from an email address you do know, but the subject seems strange or the topic is not what you would expect, then do not open as your contacts may have been breached and although it is not a true hack, the spammers modify their address so it appears to come from someone you know.
Emails stating you have won a huge sum or have a large inheritance are almost always spam and you can often tell by the email addresses attached to them that they are not legitimate.
Delete spam email without opening or previewing the content.
I hope you are staying smart online and enjoying the cyber security week tips!
iRespectOnline ( a 2013 Stay Smart Online awareness week partner)