Cybersecurity tips for 2021

Join a gym, learn a new skill, budget better…these are great New Year resolutions that all of us have made at some time or another. Whether or not we stick to them is better left unsaid.

But what about setting yourself smaller goals, like becoming more cyber-savvy? These are more easily realized, but will still play a significant role in the quality of your life. Being more cyber-savvy will help you to better protect your hard-earned money. What's more, the sense of achievement will spur you on to chase after your long-term goals.

Cybercriminals constantly look for opportunities scam people and steal their money. Common methods include deceiving their victims into sharing personal details like a cell phone number, email address, or card number. And as we bank and shop online more frequently, cybercriminals have multiple opportunities to scam innocent users. It's in your best interest to educate yourself on how they operate and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

How do cybercriminals attack?

Cybercrimes typically fall into one of two categories: phishing attacks and identity theft.

Phishing

Phishing, so aptly named, is used to draw in a victim using three steps: bait, hook and catch. The bait, often phishing emails or texts, tricks you into giving personal information, such as passwords, banking details, or contact numbers. Criminals can also mimic social media pages like Facebook to collect users' login details and take over the account. The 'hook' makes the victim take an action, usually by clicking a link. The attack happens when the cybercriminal finally gains full access to your accounts.

How can I protect myself?

The easiest way to determine whether or not an email is sent from a legitimate source is to see if you recognise the branding. Make sure that you know what the email addresses from service providers look like and try to identify their logos in emails. If an email looks suspicious, do not click on any links and delete it immediately.

Another easy way to spot fraudulent communications is to look for spelling mistakes. Legitimate organisations take care to ensure that their customers receive communications of the highest standards, and emails and SMS' with errors should raise a red flag.

If you're still not sure, you can phone your bank or sender of the email to verify that they indeed sent you the email in question.

Identity theft

Identity theft is the illegal use of someone's personal information to steal their money. This way, scammers can get access to your personal information like your bank cards, account numbers, and passwords. You'll know if you are a victim of identity theft if you suddenly receive notice of purchases you did not make.

How can I protect myself?

Start by creating strong usernames and passwords on all online profiles. And make sure that you change your passwords regularly. You should also ensure that your credit cards are kept with you at all times; so avoid giving your card to someone else to make a payment. Rather swipe your card and enter your pin yourself. 

Contact us immediately if you fall victim to cybercrime.

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