During these times, we’re sanitizing our hands and being more hygienic, but are we doing enough in terms of cyber hygiene? Here are some things we can do to avoid falling victim to scams, internet theft, and other forms of fraud.
1) Alter your password on a frequent basis.
Did you know that ‘123456’ is the most often used password in the world, followed by ‘123456789’[i]? If you use this numeric combination for any of your essential accounts, change your password as soon as possible. A solid, strong password is essential since it is more difficult to crack, and it should be changed on a regular basis. There are other free password generators available, including the LastPass password-generating program. If remembering so many distinct passwords is a hassle for you, consider using a password management tool. Google Smart Lock may be used on your PC or any Android device, and Apple devices have iCloud Keychain. Even if you take these precautions, you should still be cautious; losing your phone or master password is both inconvenient and dangerous. If you can, try memorizing a few essential passwords; if you input them every other day, you’re already halfway there!
2) Turn on 2RFA.
In today’s increasingly connected world, enabling 2RFA, or two-factor authentication is more crucial than ever. We’re sure you’ve enabled SMS OTPs for the majority of your critical accounts, but don’t stop there; alternate solutions like authenticator app verification can occasionally be intercepted without our awareness! Social networking accounts, accounts with recurring subscriptions, cashback accounts, bank accounts, and utility accounts are just a few of the accounts you should use 2RFA for. Take some time over the weekend to review all of the 2RFA measures that have been implemented.
3) Delete or delete any accounts that are no longer in use.
There’s a good chance you’ve got at least one unused game, service, credit card, or email account. Deactivate or delete them instead of having them hanging around, hoping to find a purpose for them someday—the chances of that happening are slim if you’ve had them for this long. Take it from me: I left an unused credit card account open because there was no annual fee, and I would have missed a fraudulent transaction if it hadn’t been for random balance checks. Fortunately, I noticed it before interest started to accrue, and the bank was gracious enough to provide a goodwill waiver while they investigated the situation. You don’t want to end up in the same predicament, as settling may be extremely aggravating and time-consuming. You wouldn’t want your unused accounts hacked into and any sensitive information contained within retrieved and utilized, would you?
4) Be on the lookout for phishing frauds.
We’re all aware of phishing scams and know how to recognize them, but it’s still a good idea to be vigilant. They’ve been on the rise, and they come in a variety of forms, including delivery failure warnings, robocalls, and bank SMS ‘alerts.’ The number of traps we could fall into is mind-boggling: for example, there are hundreds of phishing sites online, and this number is only increasing[ii]. Here’s what you can do, other than not clicking strange links or downloading apps/programs from shady sources: ScamShield is a free app that helps you filter spam calls and messages by comparing them to a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force and running them through an on-device algorithm. While the program will not be able to completely prevent phishing, it will assist in its reduction! Take the time to report any scam calls or messages that you receive. To do so, most email services include a specific button or link. Phishing emails can also be reported to Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency.
5) Check out AdBlock Plus and antivirus software.
Many of our laptops and desktops come with a free one- or two-year subscription to antivirus software, which many people opt not to renew owing to the additional fees and doubts about its value. Make your decision based on your research, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! A reputable anti-virus product will be able to provide you with additional protection features such as VPN services and anti-spam filters. Don’t forget about your mobile devices!
6) Take a look at your app’s permissions.
Is it really necessary for the XX app to have access to your medical records? Just in case, double-check what information your apps have access to. Consider the breadth of what you want to publish on social media as well as what you share online! Nothing ever completely goes away on the internet, and much about your lifestyle may be inferred from the small clues you leave in your posts. We regularly close our posts by reminding you to be careful and safe (as per COVID-19), but be careful and safe online as well!