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Be Cyber Smart and protect your online self

More and more of our personal information is online, and we need to think more about how we protect that information. Check out tips from CERT NZ’s Cyber Smart Week.

Just as we lock our home and our car to keep our valuables safe, we also need to protect our online information. You might think no one is interested in what you have online – but hackers will look for any information they can use to their advantage.

They can find information in lots of ways. Personal information like email addresses and passwords gets lost in data breaches, and is then posted online. People share private information thinking no-one but their friends will be interested.

The more difficult it is to access information about you, the less likely it is that you'll be affected by a cyber attack.

Here are some simple tips from CERT NZ’s Cyber Smart Week on what you can do to protect your online information.

Be Cyber Smart (external link) — CERT NZ

Use unique passwords

We’ve all heard this one before, but that doesn’t make the advice any less valid. Having unique passwords for your online accounts is one of the best ways you can secure your online information.

Go through your passwords and if you find 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.

Are password managers safe? (external link) — CERT NZ

Turn on two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is when you’re asked to provide two things – normally your password and something else, eg a code sent to your mobile phone, to be able to access your online account.

You can enable 2FA on most of your online accounts – your email, social media, internet banking and online shopping – and can set it up on your devices too – your laptop, tablets, smartphones and some gaming consoles.

Adding 2FA is an easy way to get extra security on your accounts.

Two-factor authentication for business (external link) — CERT NZ

Update your apps, software and devices

Don’t ignore alerts to update your software or apps – these updates are about more than adding new features. These updates often fix vulnerabilities that attackers can use to access your information. Install updates as soon as possible.

Be aware that if you’re using an old device, manufacturers stop providing security updates and fixes for those older models after a certain period of time, which can mean that these end-of-life models are at greater risk for cyber attacks.

Top cyber security tips for small business (external link) — CERT NZ

Check your privacy

Check how much of yourself you’re sharing online, both with the people you choose to share it with, and also with 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.

Make some time to look at your online connections and what you choose to share with them.

Cyber security and social media (external link) — CERT NZ

Do you have more questions about cyber security?

Do you have more questions about cyber security?

If you have questions about an incident, call CERT NZ on 0800 237 869. If you’re interested to know more about Cyber Smart week, contact cybersmart@cert.govt.nz.

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