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Security Focus – Tips for a Safe and Secure Christmas

 

This year has brought many challenges with it, the most obvious being the COVID-19 pandemic, which we are still attempting to control here in the UK.

 

This year has also seen rising levels of online scams, phishing attacks and other forms of cyber-crime. The UK government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is among those urging consumers and businesses to take proactive steps to improve their cyber security and reduce their risks over the holidays.

 

 

As the pandemic has progressed, people have increasingly turned to the internet to help them accomplish tasks that they would otherwise have had to leave the house to do in-person, such as shopping and banking, among others. Some of these users are also new users – those who have never used these services before – or existing users have perhaps been using them more frequently than they did previously.

Of course, this leaves many more people and businesses open to online scams and cyber-attacks – and the scammers and hackers are not wasting an opportunity. In order to help you protect yourself, your family, friends and colleagues this holiday season, we’ve compiled a few tips – some echoing the advice given by the NCSC’s Cyber Aware Scheme, and some a bit more advanced.

 

Tips for a Secure Festive Season

 

  • Make your passwords strong – NCSC advice is to use generate passwords using three random words, together.
  • Use different passwords for different websites and email – Reusing passwords can make them less secure.
  • Don’t share your passwords – Sharing them makes them much less secure, as whoever you share your details with could also be compromised, or enter them on a fake website or app.
  • Use a Password Manager app – LastPass or Dashlane, or even those such as Google Password Manager or Apple’s Keychain can help to keep your passwords safe and even generate random passwords for you.
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) where possible – this can be a one-time code sent to your mobile number or email address, or a separate authenticator app.
  • Keep your devices up-to-date – As we covered last week, this is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your security, especially on a desktop PC.
  • Run a security / anti-malware suite on your laptop or PC – These can help prevent malicious code from websites or from emails from infecting your computer with malware.
  • Make sure websites you visit are GENUINE and SECURE – If you’re in any doubt, type the address in manually or open the official app and view your account.
  • Be wary of unexpected emails – Got an email saying you ordered an expensive item that you didn’t expect, or an email saying you need to ‘confirm your details’? It’s probably a scam. Don’t click links in it. Instead, visit the site through your browser by typing in the address, and check your account.
  • Don’t share your Online Banking information with anyone – even if they claim to be from a business or bank. No one should ever call, text or email you to ask for this information.
  • Back up your important data – This will help you to recover faster in the event that a device is broken, lost or compromised. Services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox offer free, secure storagfe space for important documents and files.

 

Don’t forget the golden rule – If something looks too good to be true, it probably is!

 

If you receive a suspicious or scam email, you can send it to the NCSC using the Suspicious Email Reporting Service – For more information, click here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails

Please feel free to share this list with friends, family and colleagues who may be doing all of their shopping online for the first time this Christmas – or anyone who may need a reminder!

 

Need help or advice to keep your team safe and secure while working remotely? We can help! Give us a call on 0121 312 1500 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

 

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