SLJ 7 - Cyber security

Our resident Saturday & Wednesday Coach and Cyber Security expert Christine gave us this fantastic advice to help us all keep our information safe. Thanks Christine Maxwell! 

Cyber security is one of the subjects you hear about in the news a lot. You probably also know someone who has had a problem with a credit card, bank account or social media account being hacked. Did you know you can take some really simple steps to protect yourself and your family?

1. Choose good, complex passwords and think about a few layers of passwords for different services you use. For example, use one really good password for your banking and don't reuse it. Then have good passwords for your email and Facebook accounts. The bad guys will try to get into these accounts to find out about you. Don't make it easy for them. Then have another password(s) for lower risk accounts.

My top tip for passwords is do not use dictionary words (including dictionary words with a number at the end). A bad guy could crack this in less than 20 seconds!!!! You could use a short phrase, first line of a song lyric etc. for example:

60min10kforme, Slj7oaksisfab,  Iitmoodfd2 - I'm in the mood for dancing 2

2. Don't click links in phishing emails. Learn how to spot them. Spelling mistakes, sense or urgency and non personalised emails are some signs. If you aren't expecting a package to be delivered why would you click a link telling you that you must urgently pick up your parcel. Banks don't send emails asking you for personal info. Some of the banking phishing emails look very credible.

3. NEVER give your password or PIN to anyone. Even if someone phones you and tells you it's the Serious Organised Crime Agency) who are investigating a crime. They wouldn't do this.

4. Keep the software on your PC patched. The bad guys know that you ignore the Java and Adobe software upgrade boxes that pop up on your PC. Keep it patched - it won't take long and makes a big difference.

5. While we are on software, you've got a reputable anti virus product installed? There are good free ones out there eg from Microsoft, but some of the less reputable ones are loading malware on to your PC.

6. Tighten up the privacy settings on your Facebook and social media accounts. They don't need to be public. The bad guys love public facebook profiles - it's how they tailor a phishing email to you if they are picking on you. For example, they find out that you've got a son at xyz school from Facebook and then you receive a real looking email from the headteacher at xyz school that your son is very ill and you need to click the link to confirm that you've received the email. Would you click? They know you will.

7. Talk to your kids about this stuff.

Good cyber security behaviours are relatively easy and make a big difference.