Cyberattacks today are unfortunately a common occurrence and on the increase. In fact, an average of 200,000 new malware samples are discovered daily, presenting an ominous threat to consumers at work and at home.
To help you teach employees and members how to avoid fraud on both fronts, our experts at CO-OP have compiled the following “top 10” list of cyber security tips. Sharing these guidelines throughout your community can help prevent cyber-breaches and all the devastation they leave in their wake.
- Don’t click on e-mailed links. Instead, type the website URL directly into the web browser’s address bar, or search for the site using a search engine like Google.
- Avoid opening any attachments you were not expecting. However, if you must, scan the attachment first for viruses.
- Keep computers patched and up to date. This includes operating systems like Windows and iOS, and applications such as Adobe and Java. Keep antivirus software up to date on all devices, including phones.
- Clean your desktop – and your desk. Lock your screen whenever you leave your workstation or office so no one can see what it displays. When you leave work for the day, lock all paperwork in your file cabinets. Everyone has a smartphone camera today, and though cleaning crews and others are typically well vetted, you should be cautious.
- Double check your work. Breaches can easily occur due to simple miscommunication. For example, someone within a company thinks another person has changed the password – and vice versa.
- Shred it. This goes for any paperwork you are no longer using at work and at home.
- Use different passwords for different sites. For personal use, consider using a password tool that allows you to set different passwords for each site you frequent, while only requiring you to remember one strong password.
- Beware of phishing scams. Unlike common spam, a phishing e-mail is after personal data and will likely have a sense of urgency, asking you to click here, act right away – the offer is time limited. Delete any e-mails that don’t sound right to you.
- Avoid oversharing. The most common consumer threat today is social engineering in unexpected places like Facebook. Don’t answer questions on where you went to school, whether you have ever done something or what your nickname is. This information can be used to break into your accounts.
- Consider turning Siri off – and Amazon Echo, Alexa, and all the new devices that are listening and recording. You need to have a healthy suspicion of where this data is going. It might not be going where you think it is.
Ultimately, we should all strive to be good net neighbors, protecting our own identity at work and at home. This means taking care of ourselves so we don’t get infected and harm others. The threat is real, but following the right security protocols can dramatically reduce our risks.
For more information on how to stay safe in cyberspace, register for October’s FraudBuzz webinar.