Cyber safety is the safe and responsible use of ‘Information and Communication Technology.’ Our everyday lives depend heavily upon digital devices and Internet; Communications (Emails, Cellphones), Entertainment (Mp3, Digital Cable), Transportation (Car engine system, Airplane navigation), Shopping (Online stores, Credit cards), Medicine (Equipment, Medical records) and the list goes on. Have you ever stopped to wonder, how much of your daily life relies on your device and the Internet? How much of your personal information is stored on a device or on a system?
Cyber Security involves the protection of user’s information, by preventing, detecting and responding to attacks.
Viruses can erase your entire system. Someone (Hackers) can break into your system and alter files, use your computer to attack others or steal your credit card information and make unauthorized purchases. Unfortunately, there is no 100% guarantee that even with the best precautions some of these things won’t happen to you, but you can take steps to minimise the risk.
What are the risks?
The first step in protecting yourself is to recognise and become familiar with some the terminology associated with attacks.
What can you do?
This type of malicious code requires you to actually perform an action before it infects your computer. This action could be opening an email attachment or going to a particular web page.
Worms propagate without user intervention. They typically start by exploiting software vulnerability (a flaw that allows the software’s intended security policy to be violated). Once the device has been infected with it, the worm will attempt to find and infect other computers. Similar to a virus, worms can propagate via email, web sites, or network-based software. The automated propagation of worms distinguish them from a virus.
A Trojan horse programme is software that claims to be one thing whilst infecting your computer, by performing something different behind the scenes. For example, a programme that claims to speed up your computer may actually be sending confidential information to a remote intruder.
These terms are applied to people who seek to exploit a weakness in the software and the computer system for their own gain. Although their intentions may be fairly benign and motivated solely by curiosity; their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the system they are exploiting. The results can range from mere mischief (creating a virus with no intention of its negative impact) to malicious activity (stealing or altering information).
Hacker, attacker or intruder:
A. Smart Surfing
- 1. Always use a genuine operating system (OS), and regularly update it online.
- 2. Always use a genuine antivirus / Internet security software which is regularly updated.
- 3. Use anti spyware to protect your system from ‘Trojans, Spyware and Malware.”
- 4. Keep your “firewall” ‘on’ and updated.
- 5. Your browser should be kept away from toolbars, which get automatically installed on the browser.
- 6. Never save your passwords on your browser and instant messengers like Yahoo, Google Hangouts and Skype etc.
- 7. Clear your browser’s temporary cache and cookies on a regular basis.
- 8. While browsing, do not install shortcuts and toolbars from pop-ups and advertisements.
- 9. Do not download pirated material such as music, videos and free software from suspicious sites.
- 10. Always install the software available at the parent site.
- 11. Do not click on unknown links /hyperlinks, however luring or temporary they may be.
B. Being ‘Facebook Safe’:
- 1. Accept ‘friend requests’ only from people you know.
- 2. Create a strong password and use it only for Facebook.
- 3. Do not share your password.
- 4. Change your password on a regular basis.
- 5. Share your personal information only with people and organisations that you trust.
- 6. Log into Facebook only once during a session. If it looks like Facebook is asking you to log in a second time, skip the links and directly type www.facebook.com into your browser address bar.
- 7. Use a one-time password when using Facebook on someone else’s computer.
- 8. Log out of Facebook after using it on a public computer.
- 9. Use secure browsing whenever possible.
- 10. Download ‘apps’ only from sites you trust.
- 11. Keep your anti-virus software updated.
- 12. Do not paste scripts (code) in your browser address bar.
- 13. Beware of goofy posts from anyone, even friends. If it looks something a friend would not post, do not click on it. Scammers might hack your friends accounts and send you links; beware of enticing links coming from your friends.
- Children should enable mobile protection with their parent’s mobile number (permanent) .www.facebook.com/mobile protection.
- 15. Edit your profile and ‘hide’ your friends list, relationship, mobile numbers and email by selecting ‘visible to only me’ setting.
- 16. For additional information select ‘visible to friends only’ setting.
- 17. In privacy settings, go to apps/games/websites and select public search ‘ disabled‘ and turn off all spam apps.
C Safety tips to follow while using WhatsApp:
- 1. Never send private information like bank account details, pin or passwords through WhatsApp.
- 2. Never accept files or begin downloads from messages sent to you by strangers or unknown numbers.
- 3. Never respond to suspicious messages that come through unknown numbers.
- 4. WhatsApp as a service will never contact you through a WhatsApp message. Never trust any message that claims to come from WhatsApp and demands payment for the service.
- 5. Some scams claim that they can connect your PC with WhatsApp. Do not believe, as this is not possible.
- 6. Keep automatic downloads ‘disabled’ to keep a check on what is being downloaded.
- 7. Avoid using WhatsApp when you are connected to an open Wi-Fi network. These are hunting grounds for ‘Malware Authors and Data Sniffers.’
- 8. Always keep an updated antivirus security solution installed and updated on your mobile device.
- 9. It is advisable to set privacy settings for ‘last seen’, ‘profile photo’ and ‘status’ options to ‘my contacts’.
- 10. Be aware of what you are forwarding. It might land you in trouble.
D. Safety tips for Social Networks and Chats :
- 1. Never post your personal / contact information on a social networking site.
- 2. Do not publish your pictures / family pictures on social media.
- 3. Use the privacy / security settings of each site wisely, before you start using the service.
- 4. Do not flirt and make anonymous friends on a social networking site.
- 5. In case you are ‘cyber bullied or cyber stalked;’ immediately report to the service provider of the site, or to your nearest cyber cell (police station).
- 6. Never update your whereabouts (e.g. your current location) on a social media site.
- 7. Never update your relationship status on a social media site.
- 8. Do not add unknown people to your profile. Keep your privacy option secured for ‘friends only ‘. Immediately block unknown people from your profile.
- 9. Do not keep the same password for your social media and email account.
- 10. Do not click on unknown or suspicious posts and advertisements on the social media site. A lot of spam links, luring and tempting you with false information can appear on your page; Do not click and immediately report them as spam, for example:-
- i). “get a mobile recharge for free ... “
- ii). “see who visited your profile ... “
- iii). “you are tagged in a video ... watch the video ... “
- iv). “ account getting slow ... verify your account with your user id and password ... “
E. Email security tips :
- 1. Keep your passwords more than eight characters long, with alphanumeric / special characters / both upper and lower case letters, e.g. RaKshiT-!@#.
- 2. Never keep the same password for all your accounts.
- 3. Never respond to suspicious messages that come through unknown numbers.
- 4. Keep your recovery options secure, such as; secret questions, mobile SMS alert and secondary email address.
- 5. Always login with ‘https’ on public networks / Wi-Fi.
- 6. Avoid using free Wi-Fi access at public places.
- 7. Do not click on spam / junk mail.
- 8. Never share your email password with anyone.
- 9. Whenever you want to forward your email to more than one person, use the bcc options to write the mail ids to avoid sharing each other’s email ids.
- 10. If you are unable to access your email account, immediately report it to the service provider to reset your password and protect it to get hacked.
F. How to prevent e-frauds
- 1. Conduct online shopping / banking only from a computer which is secured with genuine OS and antivirus.
- 2. Do not use public networks and public places for online shopping/banking.
- 3. While using an online shopping and banking website, always use a virtual keyboard to enter confidential details like your password, PIN etc.
- 4. Always check the domain (URL) you are working on.
- 5. Do not share your e-banking password with anyone.
- 6. Never give your banking passwords or card details over the phone or through SMS or Email.
- 7. Whenever you change your registered mobile number, intimate the bank concerned in writing.
- 8. Activate SMS alert facility on all your cards and accounts.
- 9. Whenever you use your card for shopping, get it swiped in front of your eyes.
- 10. Erase the cvv code from the back of your card.
- 11. Always sign your card before you start using it.
- 12. At the ATM counters, be careful that nobody is standing behind you and watching you.
- 13. Leave the ATM counter only when the machine is completely logged off.
- 14. Do not leave the transaction slip in the dustbin.
- 15. Ignore emails posing to be from your bank, asking you to verify the account details due to security reasons. Do not click on such emails.
- 16. Emails and SMS with luring awards / lottery / business opportunity / job opportunity asking you to deposit money to claim them, are all fake/fraud.
- 17. Emails claiming online income tax refund are all fake/fraud.
G. Mobile safety tips
- 1. Give your mobile number only to your friends and people you trust.
- 2. Do not lend your phone to someone you do not know or trust, or put it in a place where people can get a hold of it.
- 3. Most phones allow you to lock your phones with a pin code. Without this code your phone cannot be unlocked, so if anyone steals your phone they will not be able to use it.
- 4. If someone is pressuring you to give him/her your number, tell someone about it, such as a teacher or a parent.
- 5. If you have Bluetooth on your phone, keep it switched off when you are not using it.
- 6. On a smartphone, keep your Wi-Fi off and do not connect to free Wi-Fi, hotspots in public places.
- 7. If using a smartphone like Android, Blackberry or Apple iPhone, keep the GPS disabled with social networking sites and Geo-tagging disabled in the camera settings, as they pose a threat of sharing your location.
- 8. Do not download unauthenticated applications from the Internet.
- 9. Do not reply to, or call back any unidentified numbers; especially numbers with 4,7,11 and 13 digits received as a missed call.
- 10. Do not reply to SMS with luring or tempting offers of prize/award winning.
- 11. Every phone has a security wipe feature (restore factory default settings). Use this before selling your handset, as this will prevent data theft from your device.
- 12. Whenever you give your handset for repair or maintenance, always remove the Memory card, SIM card and battery first. Also, transfer all your personal information from the phone memory to your memory card before handing it over.
- 13. Do not store personal pictures/photographs on your mobile.
H. Safety tips before selling your existing cell phone
- 1. Make sure the purchaser is genuine. If possible perform a background check on him/her.
- 2. Clear all your personal settings from the device including email, WhatsApp, contacts etc.
- 3. Make sure all your personal information is removed from your internal storage.
- 4. Make sure the memory stick/card is removed.