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Cyber Safe Christmas

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Christmas is just around the corner and it’s now a mad dash to get the remaining Christmas deals. It’s late night shopping, you’ve just finished work and you’re rushing around the shops trying to find the must have toy of the season, that seems to be sold out everywhere! Eventually you turn into a real Grinch; you’ve had enough of trawling the high street, so you give up and start your online search. But, there’s something lurking in the digital darkness, waiting for you to click that link in your e-mails for the unattainable toy you’ve been searching for – Cyber Criminals. They play on our weaknesses, and at Christmas, they are cashing in on the season of giving.

At Stripe OLT, we specialise in Online Business Security, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t impart our knowledge, to help keep you cyber-safe this Christmas. Follow these top 5 top tips, to stop your data from being St-Nicked…

 

Look out for phishing e-mails.

Phishing e-mails are one of the most effective ways for cyber criminals to gain access to your personal information, both in the workplace and at home. All a user needs to do is open the e-mail, input credentials or click a link, and a malware attack is launched. So, ask yourself these questions, is the message sent from a public e-mail domain, like a Hotmail or G-mail account? Does the message contain a mismatched URL (just hover over the link to find out), and is the language suspect? These e-mails will be looking to achieve two things, either gain your valuable credentials, or install dangerous software to steal your data. Both are extremely harmful, so you need to be vigilant!

 

Use a safe browser and search engine.

According to the recent NCSC UK Cyber Survey, 89% of people use the internet to make online purchases so consider how you’re doing this when shopping for those gifts from Santa. Small efforts, like using a secure browser can really help; Firefox for example, has add-ons that stop certain scripts from running on a webpage, and as a means of doubling up on your cyber protection, make sure you’re also using a secure search engine like Bing or Google – one that provides reliable links. It’s also worth checking the URL bar before you make any purchases! Hackers often create URLs that mimic legitimate websites, and the URL bar contains lots of vital information – it can tell you where you are and how secure a website is. These are all simple solutions, but great precautionary measures that could come save you a lot of time and money!

 

Use a password manager.

According to a recent government cyber-security report, around a third of businesses report having a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months. Now this might not be cause for immediate concern, but businesses hold your data, so it’s worth protecting yourself just in case. We recommend you start using a password manager. With an app like this, there’s a place to organise your logins, as well as generate extremely strong passwords, that are different for every site you use. This ultimately makes it much harder for cyber-criminals to utilise your details, because none of your log-ins will be the same!

 

 

Update your personal devices.

Recent research shows that only 15% of people say they know a great deal about how to protect themselves from harmful cyber activity. So, if you’re one of the 85% that needs to know more, start with the basics and make sure your personal devices are up to date! Cyber-Criminals use software weaknesses to attack your devices, so by staying up to date, you can stay one step ahead.

 

 

Utilise Two Factor Authentication.

As an online business security specialist, we always recommend to our customers that they enable something called Multi-Factor authentication; in it’s most basic form, MFA is simply proving the identity of a device user in more than one way in order to access information. Based on recent Microsoft research, your account is more than 99.9% less likely to be compromised if you enable multi-factor authentication. However, most people don’t know that Two-Factor authentication is also available, and something anyone can enable. What’s more, is usually you can enable this for free. This service is available on most popular apps, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and is usually found in security settings. Little changes like this can make a big difference, and it makes it one step harder for cyber-criminals to take advantage of your precious data!

 

 

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