Author: Hannah Khoo, Business Engagement Officer
Police Digital Security Centre
In the connected world in which we live, information is at our fingertips. We appreciate the convenience technology offers but the easiest path in life is not always the safest – is a dark alleyway a wise option to save 5 minutes of journey time? In appreciation of Safer Internet Day, the Police Digital Security Centre has provided tips on how to enjoy life on the web without compromising your security.
Only connect to trusted Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi provides opportunity for criminals to capture information due to vulnerable connections and over-exposure. With this in mind, cyber-criminals may utilise the connectivity to steal information, intercepting any transmission set on a path to its desired location (known as a man-in-the-middle attack).
Alternatively, a cyber-criminal can set-up their own Wi-Fi hotspot to impersonate a legitimate connection, requesting identical login credentials. It becomes incredibly difficult to identify a genuine source. So
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi, especially when submitting anything confidential.
- Think carefully about what you are exposing (be it credentials, credit card details, personal information). Can it wait until you are in a secure environment?
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide transmitted information from sight, known as encryption.
- Have your own Hot-Spot (possibly from your phone).
Criminals will often trick users into visiting a website that looks legitimate but is actually fake. Its aim is to capture the confidential information for the website it is posing as. For instance, if you assumed the website to be Office365, you would be providing the criminal with access to your email account.
There are ways to protect yourself:
- Analyse the address in your browser for character changes (such as o to 0) or missing characters and spelling mistakes. Criminals rely on us overlooking minor details and typos.
- Use the Quad9 Domain Name System (DNS) to replace your default one. DNS processes your request when you search for a website. Quad9 will identify whether your request is known to be harmful and will block it.
- Use ‘Safe Search’ where possible. Browsers may offer this in settings or use an antivirus add-on. ‘Safe Search’ will block known malicious sites and can also mark websites as safe during a search.
- Bookmark websites you frequently visit, to avoid misspelling the site.
- Use a password manager, as they will only fill in credentials for recognised websites.
- Only use trusted browsers that have regular updates.
- Many reputable websites will have a small, green padlock in the address bar and the website address will often start with https:. This indicates that your details will be hidden from view as it is transported to its destination.
Pop-ups or advertisement links
Clicking on a pop-up or advertisement link (whether it’s through Social Media, Blogs, Retail sites) can install malicious software (malware) onto a device or redirect you to a fraudulent site.
- Install and run antivirus.
- Use a firewall to block unauthorised access.
- Take precautionary measures to identify fraud.
Only accept necessary cookies
Cookies capture information and store it to make a more personalised experience for the user, to analyse and track user habits, send information to third parties and more.
- Change the cookie settings for your browser to reduce the amount of information that is captured.
- Reject all cookies if the option is provided by the website (note that functional cookies will remain).
A lot of this information is given to you to make you more tech savvy, and aware of cyber crime. We want to make sure you are equipped with all the information you may need to keep you and your data safe. By building these protocols into your routine, you may be able to avoid cyber crime happening to you.
For more information visit https://www.saferinternetday.org