If you’re in the market for a good New Year’s resolution (or even if you’re not) then we have the perfect 4 tips for you to follow for 2017 that will dramatically decrease the chances of you compromising your online security.
1. All emails with attachments should be considered guilty until proven otherwise.
In a court of law you’re assumed innocent until proven guilty, but concerning attachment-laden emails, you need to turn this on its head. Infected email attachments have become the primary way in which ransomware is distributed, so being sceptical of emails like this has never been so important.
The golden rule is this – unless you were explicitly expecting an email attachment from a specific person at a specific time, do not open the email attachment. You can read a few popular examples of ransomware emails in our article here.
2. Stop using the same passwords on multiple accounts!
The last few years has seen numerous high profile data breaches come to light, including the largest data breach in history being discovered that happened to Yahoo. When high profile data breaches occur, millions of emails and passwords can be leaked online, and if you have an account with the site where the breach occurred, that means your email and password may be up for grabs.
Now if the website where the breach occurred realises it happened, the chances are high that they’ll force you to change your password to protect your account. However what about those other accounts elsewhere on the Internet where you use the same combination of username and password?
Those criminals who obtain your email and password combination can (and do) try that combination on other websites to see if you’re using the same credentials.
3. Stop installing all those silly Facebook apps!
Facebook apps can be great fun. But that they can also be a security and privacy nightmare. Not only do you give your personal information to the developers of the app when you install it, the app can lead you to webpages outside of Facebook which can try and lure you into installing malware.
Sensible security advice is this; only install Facebook apps where you know the developers are reputable. If you have no idea who the developer is, or you seem to have stumbled upon an app installation permission page, don’t install the app!
4. Don’t use out-of-date software, and keep everything updated
There was no shortage of exploits and vulnerabilities discovered in 2016, and throughout the year we saw a constant stream of critical security updates.
But if you’re using out-of-date and unsupported software (take Windows XP, for example!) then you don’t get these critical updates, and it’s not a matter of if – but when – you will eventually get targeted with an online scam.
Keep your software up-to-date, especially your Internet browser, and please, please – give Windows XP the boot if you’re still using it!