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Over the recent years, we’ve seen cybersecurity become a hot topic. This has occurred mostly due to the awareness raised from breaches in security, privacy, and trust between the public and businesses. We have a few tips to help you reduce the risk of being a victim to cyber-crime.

Browsing the web

* Prefer HTTPS

Websites that are secured over https:// have encryption between their website and your computer. This means the content is kept secret in transit, therefore, no-one can snoop upon what you’re looking at over the internet. For example, if you’re shopping online and viewing your basket, over https://, no one over the internet can see what you’re about to buy. They would only ever be able to determine that you’ve visited the shopping site and not the pages (in this case, products) that you’ve viewed.

You also get more confidence that if the certificate is trusted (there’s a green lock for the website), that the content you’re viewing is actually from the source you expect.

* Use a modern up-to-date browser

As security is a constant battle, it’s important for you to use a modern web browser that is frequently kept up to date. You can use updatemybrowser.org to check if yours is.

* Use browser add-ons that help protect you

To further help protect your privacy, you can use browser add-ons such as Disconnect and uBlock to help prevent websites from tracking your online behaviour after you leave their site and block ads which can be often intrusive and malicious.

* Use trusted external payment providers

Instead of entering your card/bank details into every website, requiring you to update them all when they expire and potentially exposing yourself to insecure payment systems, opt to use a payment service like PayPal or Google Wallet.

Passwords and authentication

* Don’t reuse passwords

It’s quite common for us to fall into a habit of using the same password for many things as it’s easy to remember. However, by doing so, we risk access to everything that password is shared with. This is like having the same key for all locks in your life. For example, having the same key for your house and office results in a thief being able to get into your house and office if that key is stolen. This leads us onto the next tip.

* Use a renowned password manager

To help manage having complex passwords for each site, we highly recommend using a password manager. This allows you to remember one master key that then unlocks all of your other keys. Make sure to keep that master key strong, otherwise you’re still at great risk! Some examples of password managers are: LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass.

* Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) where possible

All authentication mechanisms that we use rely on the basis of something we know, something we have, or something we are. Most commonly used is something we know in the form of a password. MFA uses at least one of the other characteristic to strengthen the authentication process. For example, if you use MFA with a password (something you know) and a phone (something you have), if someone wanted to break into your account, they would have to determine your password and steal your phone, which is much more difficult.

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