International Data Privacy Day (28 January) is an ideal opportunity to highlight a few ways you can keep your information secure, particularly when working from home.
Cybercrime is the use of a computer or online network to commit crimes such as fraud, online image abuse, identity theft or threats and intimidation.
Scammers use the personal information they can find about you to commit other crimes such as fraud or blackmail…and it can take years (if ever!) to recover from the damage they cause.
Some 90% of data breaches and hacking occur as a result of human error – don’t be a statistic!
As cybercrime becomes more sophisticated, criminals are increasingly targeting individuals, so it pays to be cyber-savvy.
Protect yourself from cyber criminals in a few simple steps
Here are a few things you can do today to reduce your chance of being affected by cybercrime when you’re working from home.
1. Make sure you rename your router, and your Wi-Fi is protected with a unique, strong passphrase.
Did you know that routers come with stock standard passwords – many of which are just a Google search away? This is one of the easiest ways for a hacker to penetrate your home internet, so take the time to update your security. It could save your personal information and prevent a hack to your company.
A passphrase is a minimum of three, unconnected words. An example (and please don’t use this as your passphrase!) may be PurpleMonkeyDishwasher.
2. Did you know, the average home has 17 devices connected to the internet at one time? More devices mean more opportunities for hackers…
In today’s connected world, some people have internet connected hair dryers and fridges (yes, really!). A few years ago, a casino was actually hacked because of its internet-connected fish tank!
If you don’t have security controls in place on all your internet connected devices at home, you could leave yourself open for hackers to come in and steal your personal and work information.
Ask yourself, does your toilet/oven/toaster really need to be connected to the internet? If not, disable or turn that function off.
3. If you are using a personal computer to complete your professional work, keep the security (like antivirus) on your network and devices up-to-date, and have a good, active firewall to protect your data.
Software and application updates on your phone and laptop often include protection from the latest security threats so they are worth doing regularly.
A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and permits, or blocks data based on a set of security rules.
4. Be careful how much information you’re sharing online and who you are sharing your personal information with.
Many people list their birthdays, anniversaries and pet names on their social media profiles and forget to implement security settings.
Unfortunately, the most common passwords include birthdays, anniversaries and pet names. If you’re freely giving this information away on social media profiles and don’t have any security settings turned on, you could be telling hackers your passwords.
Your personal passwords are also likely being used for work and if you list where you work on LinkedIn, for example, hackers can try to hack your workplace and steal information by testing your personal passwords on your work email addresses and platforms.
5. Use Multi-factor authentication (MFA) on as many applications as you can, especially your email, banking and government-related services.
An example of MFA is when a bank says they will text you a code and you enter that code on your screen – it’s a second way to verify that you’re actually the person requesting that action (like transferring money). MFA is one of the most effective ways to protect against unauthorised access to your valuable information and accounts and is available for most services.
Think a hacker isn’t interested in you? Think a data breach on your website isn’t likely?
I bet majority of people who read this have already been involved in a data breach and here’s how to check - visit www.haveIbeenpwned.com and enter your personal and work email address – it will tell you how many breaches you’ve been in, which apps and what information about you has been captured.
If you have been involved in a data breach, update the password on that email address straight away and anywhere else you’ve used that password – we know you use it in other places and so do hackers!
Hint - the first place a hacker will look and test your password is LinkedIn, other social media accounts and your workplace.
For more on how to keep your information safe from cyber criminals, we recommend checking out:
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) provides a number of step-by-step guides for individuals and families which detail basic cyber security instructions for specific software, applications and services. For more information, visit www.cyber.gov.au
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