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Durban - October is Cyber Security Month, which is an initiative formed and being driven by the EU.

It seeks to create awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among people and organisations, and provide resources and information to help people and organisations protect themselves online through sharing information.

Here, Rian Schoeman, head of legal at Etion Secure, incorporating LAWtrust, shares his top cyber security tips:

Phishing emails appear to be from a recognised source and aim to trick you into giving out your bank details or login credentials.

To spot a phishing email, look out for:

The sender’s address - They are good at copying addresses so that they appear to be legitimate, but the address is usually not 100% correct, or has a spelling error

Look for bad spelling and grammar in the email - Hover over links before you click on them to check if it’s a legitimate site - if it isn’t, don’t click on it. If you’re unsure whether an email asking you to confirm your credentials or verify your identity or re-login to your account is legitimate, call the sender.

Mobile security - We use cellphones every day and a lot of them don’t even have a password or biometric lock. Given the amount of information we keep on our phones, everyone needs some security. Check your apps - a lot of them, even the legitimate ones, are full of spyware, which captures your data and shares it in the background without your knowledge. Before you download an app, look at the permissions it is requesting.

Passwords - Reusing passwords is a problem because if your password is compromised on one site and you’ve used the same password on other sites, attackers now have access to all those profiles. To make your password more secure, try a pass-phrase, which can be a favourite line from a movie or book. Make the phrase more secure by swopping letters for numbers.

Public and private wi-fi - Rather avoid using public wi-fi; it may be convenient, but there is no way to be sure it’s safe. On a public wi-fi network you have no idea if you are connecting to someone else’s computer who is harvesting your information. When it comes to your private wi-fi, make sure you give your router a proper name and password. Many people leave the user name and password set to admin.

The Mercury