With social media channels like Facebook and Twitter remaining as popular as ever, cyber criminals are able to access a wealth of personal information online. Even people who think they are being cautious with their privacy settings could be vulnerable to a cyber attack – particularly if they allow third-party applications to access their profiles. Once a user’s information such as location, date of birth and family connections has been logged, this can be used to hack into their other accounts, such as banking and online storage.
1. Exclude important personal information from your social media profiles
Details like your phone number, address, children’s age or school can all present ways for hackers to glean more knowledge. On Facebook, that means culling any ‘friends’ you don’t know, minimising the details in your ‘About Me’ section and being selective about hitting the ‘like’ button, all of which will make you harder to find.
2. Check your social media privacy settings
Change all Facebook settings to “Friends Only” for all posts for a more secure profile. Facebook often makes changes to these settings and, when it does so, can even reset your secure settings.
3. Protect your online passwords and strengthen them too
Many of us use passwords we won’t easily forget, like 1234, our birth dates, or our home towns. But the rule is, if they’re easy to remember, they’re easy to crack, too.
4. Use multiple passwords
Have more than one password for online accounts or – if it’s cracked – thieves will be able to gain access to all your private data at once.
5. Check your phone’s privacy settings
Turning your GPS location settings to “off” can also keep your family’s whereabouts more private.
6. Watch out for ‘phishing’ emails
Spam email is getting more and more sophisticated. Never respond to any emails with account info or passwords. Banks will never ever ask for your information in this way. If in doubt, call the bank directly to check or, better still, delete the email.
7. Keep your communications networks secure
Password protect your Wi-Fi so hackers in the local area can’t use your connection to carry out malicious activity.
8. Check for the https://
Before entering payment details into any website, check the web address has an ‘s’ – which stands for secure – after the http. If it doesn’t, don’t use it.
9. Keep a close eye on your bank statements
Really savvy people cross check their receipts with the payment history on their statements, but this isn’t absolutely necessary – just keep an eagle eye out for any unfamiliar transactions to recipients you’ve never heard of.
10. Monitor mail you get through your door, as well as online
Be alert to anything suspicious in the mail, like pre-approved credit cards you’ve not applied for and other financial offers.