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February 14, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:06am

How to stay safe online

CBR has teamed up with Lee Weiner, SVP of products and engineering at security management firm Rapid7, to bring you a series of useful guides that will help you stay safe online. Today, he emphasises the importance of being vigilant.

By Duncan Macrae

In all the topics we’ve covered in our articles this week, there has been a key underlying theme – vigilance. In this last post, we really want to help hammer home the message and help users to understand why vigilance is so important.

Be Vigilant!

From when we are small we’re taught about obvious risks and encouraged to adopt certain types of vigilant behaviour to protect ourselves, to the point that it’s become second nature. You look both ways before crossing the road. You don’t stick a fork in the toaster. You wear a seatbelt when driving. The list is endless. We are encouraged at every point to take our physical safety seriously and to protect ourselves.

Yet we do not widely exercise the same degree of vigilance when it comes to our virtual safety, despite having reached a point where we all practically exist online. From dating to banking and mortgage applications to business networking, our digital DNA is enormous. As a result our level of exposure is immeasurable, both on a personal and professional level. Whilst you may never see your attacker,they have the potential to cause you serious trouble.

We need to adopt the same kind of vigilance to protect ourselves when we’re engaging with technology as we would walking down a dark street late at night. Be aware, consider the risks, and limit your vulnerability.

Check out the next page for our top safety tips!

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How can you stay safe?

Don’t visit shady websites!

Sometimes it is tempting to visit a site that promises to show you how to see who is looking at your Facebook profile, or how to make money while you sleep, or how to find love right now, tonight, but when faced with such an opportunity, resist it. Sites like this probably won’t deliver, and are likely to lead to other shady parts of the Internet, or include malicious software.

Don’t give information out to strangers

This should be a familiar one – beware "Stranger Danger". Don’t simply trust that people are who they say they are, and don’t give information out without first verifying that it’s OK to do so. For example, if someone calls in to the company and asks you for information, it could seem pretty innocent, but you could be arming them with what they need to launch a phishing attack that may provide an entry point to compromising the company’s systems.

Don’t connect to untrusted networks

If you’re working in a public place, be suspicious of the WiFi. Connect to the VPN as soon as possible. Ensure your Internet at home is password protected and change the password regularly.

Don’t accept flashdrives/ USB keys from people you don’t know

They could carry some kind of malicious software that could infect your computer.

Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it

An attacker can use it to connect to your device and access your information without your knowledge.

Lock your computer when you step away

This goes for any environment, but especially when you are in public. Leaving your laptop on a table while you are logged in is analogous to leaving your car keys in the door.

Good luck out there…and remember, be vigilant!




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