8 Online Security Tips – Get your security in order!

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If ‘12345678’, ‘password’, ‘admin’, or your date of birth is your password of choice, you could do with a few lessons in internet security. From Telstra to the ATO, a growing number of organisations have been targeted by hackers and scammers hoping to obtain customers’ personal data and credit card numbers. Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert to have strong internet security. In this article, we’ll go over some extremely important and easy online security tips.

1 – Don’t take the bait!
Phishing is the most prominent method hackers are using obtain your information. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails disguised as reputable companies in order to encourage individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

  • Don’t click links from unrecognised senders
  • Be cautious about emails from organisations you haven’t interacted with in some time that ask for you to update your information. Assume their email may have been hacked too, so avoid opening links or attachments.

Be aware of the stranger bearing gifts…

2 – Frequently update your password
A brute force attack is when a hacker writes a formula to try every possible password combination to gain access to your account, a password like Gkz4CsEpNx would take an estimated 65 days to crack and 54 trillion combination attempts at unlocking the password.

3 – Don’t use the same password for every account
Obviously, it’s easy to remember one complex password and use it across all of your accounts. However, this leads to the possibility of one service being hacked and the hacker using this password to attack your accounts with other services.

4 – Only trust and provide information to sites with HTTPS
URLs beginning with ‘http://’ are NOT secure. Sites with ‘https://’ are using a combination of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with the Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, meaning that the session between your browser and the web server is encrypted and safe. Without HTTPS, hackers can intercept your session and information you input onto the page.

5 – Enable 2-Step verification where possible
Traditionally people only had one layer – their password – to protect their account. With 2-Step Verification, if a cybercriminal hacks through your password layer, he/she will still need your phone or Security Key to get into your account. This is one of the safest methods for protecting your identity online and should be adopted where available.

6 – Keep your device clean
If your machine is running slower than usual or you experience random websites popping up on your machine, its highly likely that your device is infected with a virus. Installing a trusted antivirus software is the best defense and recovery tool (AVG, Malwarebytes, Avast etc…).

7 – Keep your software and operating system up to date.
Operating systems such as Mac & Windows frequently send updates for users with software patches. While it may be tempting to close popups reminding you of a new update, you should be updating as soon you can as these updates can patch and protect you against the latest security vulnerabilities. You should also keep your other software up to date. The best tactic is to turn on automated software updates on all your apps—this applies to your antivirus software, email apps, browsers, etc.

8 – Don’t plug strange devices into your computer
Not only can malware spread through virtual means—but it can also be spread through hardware. Users of USB sticks, external hard drives, and even smartphones are not immune from malware. Before you plug anything into your computer, make sure that you know exactly where the device came from and what else has been on it. Only plug in things from trusted sources.

Learn more about cyber security and how to stay safe online at https://www.google.com/safetycenter/

This document contains general advice only and is prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial circumstances and needs.  The information provided is not a substitute for legal, tax and financial product advice.  Before making any decision based on this information, you should speak to a licensed financial advisor who should assess its relevance to your individual circumstances.  While The Field Group believes the information is accurate, no warranty is given as to its accuracy and persons who rely on this information do so at their own risk.  The information provided in this bulletin is not considered financial product advice for the purposes of the corporations Act 2001.

The Field Group Accounting
About the author

The Field Group is composed of experts in the fields of Xero accounting, personal tax, self-managed superannuation, audit services, business services, bookkeeping, bench marking, business structuring and ATO Compliance. Based in Melbourne, The Field Group are also able to work with clients all over Australia and are the market leader for accounting services in the Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park, Lilydale and general Melbourne eastern suburb region.

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