As long as you use the internet, you’re a target for cybercriminals, you need to stay safe while using your digital devices. Here are some tips to stay safe in online:
1. Use Strong Password
Make sure you don’t use your date of birth, phone number or easily guessable information as your password. Make use of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. For example, '7G#haZ/j@2'. Alternatively, you could use a passphrase, but make it long. For example, 'thisissucharandompassword'. Don't reuse your password and don't share your password with others. You could also use a password manager to keep your passwords safe. Here's a great password manager by TrendMicro.
2. Lock your SIM
You can lock your sim to avoid your bank account getting drained when your phone is stolen. Depending on your phone and sim manufacturer, there are variations on how to lock your sim. But they all follow a similar format:
- Go to settings
- Search for sim lock
- Input the default sim pin
- Change the sim pin to a new one
Note that you might need the original sim packaging or contact your sim provider for additional help.
3. Your bank don't ask for your personal information
Your bank already has all the information that they will ever need on you. They will never ask for your PIN, BVN or other sensitive details over the phone, and definitely not if you have an 'issue' with your account. If you're called that you have an problem with your account, and you are asked for sensitive details, kindly hang up and block the number.
4. Turn on Multifactor Authentication
An authentication factor is a means of identifying you before giving access to your information. Examples of factors include your password, your fingerprint, FaceID or PIN. Multifactor authentication means using two or more means to verify your identity. For example, if you enable 2FA (2-Factor Authentication), you will be required to use two means to access your data, such as a password and a code sent to your email. This makes sure that even if a cybercriminal has your password, they can't gain access because they don't have your email.
5. Limit Sharing Personal Information
The saying 'Knowledge is Power' holds very true. A cybercriminal's first objective will always be to know you, the same way a lion knows its prey and its weaknesses. Pictures and Videos shared on social media can be used to identify you, your location, where you work, who you are related to, and your personality. All that information can be used to create a portfolio on you, which the attacker can then use to create an attack.
6. Don't click on unknown links
Anyone can host anything behind a link. Do not click on links from places you don't know the source, if it triggers an emotional response, and definitely if it doesn't have the 'https' mark. Also note that the 'https' or padlock symbol only means the site is secure, not if it's malicious. You could be sending your information very securely to a cybercriminal. Treat links like possibly spoilt food. If anything seems off, don't even try it.
7. Update your devices regularly
While you may love your old system running Windows 7, it might not be the most secure thing to do. Software updates and patches are given to you by the manufacturer of your phone, laptop, or other electronic device for a new look, security upgrades, or both. Always update your devices as cybercriminals are always exploiting out-of-date systems that don't have security improvements.
8. Public Wifi is dangerous
Nothing is free, especially not free Wi-Fi. Cybercriminals could setup hotspots that they could use to monitor what you do on the Internet, and your device once you connect to it. If you are completely out of options and must use one, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This should theoretically encrypt and hide your device traffic, even from the attacker.
9. Backup your data
In Cybersecurity, it's not a matter of if you'll get attacked, but when. No one hopes to be the victim of a cyberattack, but you must be ready for when all your defenses have been broken down. In this case, a backup of your data, preferably offline, is your ace. If your device is infected with malware, or an attacker has control of it, a clean reset and backup is your best bet when all else fails.
10. Be careful who you chat with online
The Internet is an online jungle. While it is one that we all can relate to, it hosts many dangers and predators. Deepfakes, romance scams, and fake job offers thrive on people creating fake digital identities and exploiting you by making you think they are real people. A simple rule of thumb is if you haven't met them off the phone, don't talk to them on the phone. If you must communicate with the person, don't share personal information and be suspicious.