October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about staying safe online.
For most of us, the internet is a big part of our lives, so it’s important to understand how to protect ourselves. To help you, the Information Security team has put together these 10 tips for staying safe online:
- Phishing – don’t take the bait
Beware of any email that asks you for information, even if it looks like it has been sent from a legitimate company. Spam emails, ‘free’ offers, clickbait (attention-grabbing headlines or website links) and online quizzes all use tempting tactics to make you click on dangerous links or give up your personal information
- Think before you open email attachments
Unless you know the sender and are expecting the message, don’t open email attachments as these could contain malicious programmes designed to steal your personal information or harm your computer or phone. Be especially wary of emails with attachment names ending in ‘.exe’
- Log out and shut down before you go home
Always make sure you log out of your accounts when you’ve finished, especially if using a shared computer. Shutting down your computer when you have finished also means that any automated software updates can download and install to protect the computer
- Keep your software and anti-virus up to date
Keep your anti-virus software up to date to make sure you’re protected against new viruses, and download the latest software versions to make sure all known faults and problems have been fixed
- Only shop when you see the padlock
When shopping or banking online, always make sure there is a padlock symbol in the web browser window (where you see the website address) when you have logged in or registered, and that the web address begins with https:// (‘s’ stands for ‘secure’)
- Read the small print
When signing up for an account on a website, take some time to read the terms and conditions and be careful about what you are opting into or out of. Some companies will sell your personal data or seek permission to other information on your laptop, tablet or phone so check what you’re agreeing to
- Be wary of WiFi
Make sure your home Wi-Fi is protected with a strong password that only you and your family know. Also when out and about, be suspicious of ‘free Wi-Fi’ and never use a hotspot that may be unsecured, especially when doing something personal or private. If you need to access the Co-op network remotely, make sure you’re doing it securely by using AnyConnect or your CAG token
- What happens on social media can stay on Google forever…
Make sure you know your privacy settings on social media and be careful what you share, especially when it comes to identity information that could be used to impersonate you or guess your passwords and log-ins. Also, do you really want your friendly neighbourhood burglar to know you’re away on holiday for two weeks?
- Take extra care with mobile security
Mobile devices (phones and tablets) can be just as vulnerable as laptops and PCs. Be careful what you click, and only download apps from official app stores (after reading other user reviews first)
- Passwords are like pants . . .
Don’t share them, don’t let anyone else see them, and change them often!
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-op Information Security Team