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The three things you need to know to be cybersmart

Online security can often seems like a complex issue, and something we don’t want to spend time and energy on. However, protecting your data can be as easy as following these three steps. 

If in doubt, just don’t… 

You have to admit that it’s enticing – everyone loves a free gift, a great promotion or a chance to win the latest iPhone, but beware of false promises. 

As tempting as it is to believe that a Nigerian prince might be prepared to give you a share of his 27 million dollars if you can just send him the fees to access the blocked account, just remember that you live in the real world, not a Disney film. The only thing you’re going to get is robbed: of your personal data, your hard-earned money, or even your identity.

If an e-mail, a link or an attached file looks odd, or comes from a strange address, don’t click on it or open it. If something looks too good to be true, then the chances are that it is. 

Use strong passwords

Despite what we might want to think, not everybody on the internet is posting cute videos of cats or sharing the latest memes. There are people out there who are looking to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the system, and very often, the weakest link in the chain is us.

Avoid making it easy for potential hackers to get at your personal data by not writing your passwords down or storing them near your devices. Create strong passwords that are hard to guess – long, combinations of numbers, letters and symbols – and, where possible, use a password manager.

Mind your digital footprint

Whether at work or at home, it can sometimes seem as if we spend more time in the online world than we do in the real one. However, that increased online presence brings with it a whole new set of issues that we need to deal with. 

The digital footprint that you leave as you wander around the internet and social media opens the door to potential hacking and social engineering. Putting too much information out there for everyone to see exposes you to risk. Be selective about what you share, and make sure that the information is being shared with the appropriate audience.