Phishing or public are just some of the ways that a cyber criminal could attack you. Photo: File
DURBAN – October is Cyber Security Month an initiative that was formed and being driven by the EU to promote cyber security as well as create awareness around cyber security threats. 

Rian Schoeman, the head of Etion Secure, is sharing his five tips on cyber security.

Phishing

Phishing emails look like they are from a recognised source and target you into giving them things like your banking details or login credentials to valuable data sources. 

Stop yourself from falling victim to phishing emails by l ooking at the address of the sender. The emails appear to be from a valid source but the address is usually not 100 percent correct. For example, there is a spelling error or it comes from [email protected] rather than [email protected]

Other things to look out for include bad spelling and grammar because phisher don’t spend time on the quality of the content in their emails. 

Hover over links before clicking on them to check if it’s a legitimate site. If the site does not seem to be legititmate then delete the email. 

If you’re unsure of the legitimacy of the email call the sender and ask if they sent it to you. If you can’t reach them then just delete it. Most banks and the like will never ask you to login from a link in an email, so that alone should be a warning sign.

Mobile security

Check the apps on your mobile device, a number of them even the legitimate ones are full of spyware. Spyware takes your data and shares it in the background without you having any knowledge that your data is being shared. 

Before you download an app check the permissions it is asking.  If it’s a calculator, for example, does it really need access to your contacts and photos? Checking that the permissions requested are only what is needed.

Passwords:

The reuse of passwords is part of the problem. If your password is compromised on one site, like Facebook, for example, and you’ve used the same password on other sites, cyber attackers will now have access to other profiles where you have used this password. 

This has become such a problem that many companies are reintroducing PINs as they believe they can provide more security. 

If you battle to remember a long line of random numbers, a passphrase can be  easier. A passphrase can be a favourite line from a movie or book. Make the phrase more secure by swapping letters for numbers. For example, ‘Troy fell’ can become Tr0y f2ll. There are millions of books and movies so you can use a different phrase for each account you have.

Public and private wifi

If you can avoid using public wifi it can be better for you because you can't be sure whether it is safe or not. 

On a public wifi network you have no idea if you have connected to someone else’s computer who is collecting your information. 

With home wifi, make sure you give your router a proper password. Many people take the router out the box, set it up but they don't change the password or the username. Give your home router an obscure name, and change the username and password to something specific, and that won't be easy to guess. 

Be aware

Cyber-criminals are using phishing emails or face to face or telephone conversations, pretending to be a customer or a person wanting to do business with you to elicit information that they can use. If you have received calls like this, take it to your information or compliance officer who can look into who they are talking to and why they need that specific information.

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