10 Ways of Staying Safe Online

On a daily basis, people are exposed to various forms of online threats and attacks such as malware, spyware, adware, phishing, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, ransomeware, etc.  To further minimize the vulnerability of online threats and attacks, these information below explains security tips to consumers on actionable steps to take to protect themselves while online.

To Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Phishing Expedition, Call Your Friend or Colleague If an Email Seems Suspicious.

Phishing refers to an attack that uses email or a messaging service (like those on social media sites) that tricks or fools you into taking an action, such as clicking on a link or opening an attachment

If you ever receive a suspicious email or text message from a work associate, friend, or relative, remain on guard. Cybercriminals can send out emails that appear to be coming from someone you trust. For optimum security, pick up the phone if a message appears to come from someone you trust but is asking for sensitive information. Do not reply to the message until you verify its authenticity.

Phishers May Call Asking For Private Information. Do Not Give Private Information Over The Phone To Someone Who Calls In.

If someone calls you asking for sensitive or confidential information, do not give it to them. Instead, ask them to give a phone number to reach them and then call back through the official number of the company that they claim to work for. If the company cannot find or know about the information being requested, it is likely that the request was a phishing attempt.

Ensure That Your Data Is Protected At Home. Encrypt Hard Drives And Password Protect Devices.
Your home computer may have sensitive personal information on it as well as confidential organization information. To ensure that your data is protected, you should encrypt your hard drives; this will keep data safe even if the hard drives are lost or stolen. Use a password to protect all of your computers and devices and make sure that all the passwords you use are completely unique.

When Away…

Leaving your seat? Ctrl–Alt–Delete! This enables you to lock your workstation while you are away from it. This is to avoid someone using your workstation while you are away.

Identity Thieves May Use Public Forums. Watch What You Say.

Identity theft is a crime in which someone wrongfully obtains another person’s personal information and then uses that information to commit fraud.

Don’t let your guard down on public forums. Anything you say may be used by identity thieves. Identity thieves can look through your public forum posts, profiles and social media accounts to create a picture of your identity. They can find your full name, age, location, work place and your profession and they can use all of these items to compromise your identity. Remaining anonymous on the Internet is ideal.

Don’t Trust Links Sent in Email Messages

A common method cyber criminals use to hack into user’s computers is to send emails with malicious links. Users can be tricked into opening these links because they appear to come from someone or something they know and trust. If you click on a link, you may be taken to a site that attempts to harvest your information or tries to hack into your computer. Only click on the website of the company. Do not click directly on any link sent to your box. Not sure about an email? Call the person to confirm they sent it.

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, common sense is our best protection. If an email, phone call or online message seems odd, suspicious or too good to be true, it may be an attack.

Paper Documents Also Have to Be Protected

Keep in mind that digital data is not the only thing that needs to be protected. Paper documents also need to be protected. When disposing of any confidential documents, make sure they are shredded first or disposed of in bins for shredding.

Mobile Apps

Only install mobile apps from trusted places, and always double-check the privacy settings to ensure you are not giving away too much information.

For Apple devices, such as an iPad or iPhone, only download mobile apps from the Apple App Store. The advantage to this is Apple does a security check of all mobile apps before they are made available. Windows Phone uses a similar approach to managing applications. Android mobile devices are different. Android gives more flexibility by being able to download a mobile app from anywhere on the internet. However, with this flexibility comes more responsibility. You have to be more careful about which mobile apps you download and install, as not all of them are reviewed. Google does maintain a managed mobile app store similar to Apple’s, called Google Play. The mobile apps you download from Google Play have passed some basic security checks.

Keep your mobile phone and apps up to date:

Mobile devices, such as tablets, smartphones, and watches, have become one of the primary technologies we use in both our personal and professional lives. What makes mobile devices so versatile are the millions of apps we can choose from. These apps enable us to be more productive, instantly communicate and share with others, train and educate, or just have more fun. However, with the power of all these mobile apps comes risks.

Having the most up-to-date security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware or other online threats. Be careful of apps you download.

Compiled by:

Information Technology Department

Nigerian Communications Commission