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Check out your online self this Cyber Smart Week

There’s a lot of news about cyber security at the moment. We’ve all seen stories of hackers intercepting emails to trick people out of money, and whole systems locked up for ransom. Even so, it can be hard to see how that might affect you. After all, what have you got that anyone else would want? And why would anyone bother trying to figure out your password?

Many cyber attacks don’t target a specific individual or organisation. Instead, attackers look for easy ways to find information online that they can use to their advantage. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

Unfortunately, this information can be found in lots of ways. Personal information like email addresses and passwords get lost in data breaches, and then posted online. People share private information thinking that no-one but their friends will be interested.

As we move more of the things we care about online, we need to think about how we can protect it. In the same way that we hide our valuables and lock our car, we also need to prevent our valuable photos and documents from being stolen or damaged.

The good news is you can protect your online self by just doing a few small things. The more difficult it is to access information about you, the less likely it is that a cyber attack will affect you.

This Cyber Smart Week, take a couple of simple actions to protect your online self.

1. Use unique passwords

Creating unique passwords for your online accounts is one of the most effective ways you can secure your online self.

So, this Cyber Smart Week, check your online accounts and make sure each one has a unique password. If you find that you’ve reused a password on an account, change it to something new. And if you think you need some help remembering them all, set up a password manager.

2. Turn on 2FA

Adding two-factor authentication (2FA) to your login process is a simple way to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.

Take some time this week to set up 2FA on your apps and accounts. Then relax in the knowledge that your personal information is much safer thanks to one small, simple change.

3. Update your apps

When you’re alerted to an update for one of your apps, don’t ignore it — install it as soon as possible. Updates aren’t just about adding new features. They’re also about fixing vulnerabilities that attackers can use to gain access to your information.

Make an appointment to check up on your apps this week. Install any updates that are waiting, and get rid of anything you don't need. Your online self will thank you for it.

4. Check your privacy

It’s important to be aware of how much of your online self you’re sharing, and with whom. That means both the info you choose to share yourself, and the info you’re asked to share by the companies you have online accounts with.

We’re so used to sharing things online that we don’t really think about how it affects our privacy anymore. It’s really easy to find out things like your pet's name, where you went to school, where you work, and even when you’re away on holiday.

This Cyber Smart Week, take some time to look at your online connections and what you choose to share with them.

Want to find out more about getting cyber smart? Check out www.cert.govt.nz/cybersmart


ends

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