OCTOBER is Cyber Security Month to create awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security and provide resources and information for protection online.

Phishing

Phishing emails appear to be from a recognised source. They aim to trick you into passing on bank details or login credentials. These attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated. Stop yourself from falling victim by:

Looking at the sender’s address - they are good at spoofing addresses so that they appear to be from a legitimate source, but the address is usually not 100% correct. For example, a spelling error or it comes from [email protected] rather than [email protected]

Looking for bad spelling and grammar. It’s often easy to see by the wording, spelling and grammar that it’s fake.

Hovering over links before you click on them to check if it’s a legitimate site - if it isn’t, don’t click on it, just delete it.

If you’re unsure whether an email asking you to confirm your credentials or verify your identity or log in again to your account is legitimate, call the sender. If you can’t reach them, delete it. Most banks and the like will never ask you to log in from a link in an email, so that should be a warning sign.

Mobile security

We use cellphones every day and while many don’t have a password or biometric lock, everyone needs some security.

Check your apps. Many, even legitimate ones, are full of spyware. Before you download an app, look at the permissions it is requesting.

Passwords

If your password is compromised on one site, like Facebook, for example, and you’ve used the same password on other sites, attackers now have access to your profiles wherever you’ve used that password. This has become such a problem that many companies are reintroducing more secure PINs.

If you battle to remember a long line of random numbers, or numbers and letters, you might find a pass phrase easier - a favourite line from a movie or book. Not something obvious, something that hasn’t made its way into pop culture history. Make the phrase more secure by swopping letters for numbers. For example, “Troy fell” can become Tr0y f2ll.

Public and private wi-fi

If you can, rather avoid using public wi-fi - there is no way to be sure if it’s safe. On a public wi-fi network you have no idea if you’re connecting to someone else’s computer who is harvesting your information.

When it comes to your private home wi-fi, make sure you give your router a proper password. Many people take the router out the box, set it up and leave the user name and password set to admin.

Be aware

Social engineering is on the rise. This is the art of using normal conversation to manipulate people into giving up information.

Cybercriminals use phishing emails or face-to-face or telephone conversations, pretending to be a customer or a person wanting to do business with you to extract information they can use.

Be aware. Rian Schoeman, head of legal at Etion Secure, incorporating LAWtrust