From viruses to hackers to internet scams, exploring the world wide web can seem like risky business! The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! There are some simple steps you can take to ensure you, your business, your data and your money is protected.
The issue: Looks can be deceiving
Scammers these days are getting smart. They’ll do anything they can to convince you they’re legitimate, and aren’t about to rip you off or steal your life savings. Scam emails often look like the real thing – for example, some scammers will send you an email that looks just like one your bank might send, and even clicks through to a page that looks just like your bank’s website.
The answer: Take a closer look
So how do you tell the difference between an offer from a trusted source, and a scammer who wants to steal your hard-earned money? One key thing to remember is that a legitimate business will never send you an email asking you for your password. If they do – beware! Don’t click on the email or open any attachments, and contact the real business immediately to let them know there is a potential scam around.
The issue: Pop! Goes your data
Popups can be more than just a pesky distraction when you’re using your computer. Lurking behind their brightly coloured headlines and eye-catching buttons can be something a little more sinister. Click on the wrong one, and you risk losing everything.
The answer: Banish popups
When you’re browsing online, if any suspect-looking popups appear, make sure you close them straight away. Always close them using the small “x” on the top right-hand corner or the popup, and don’t be fooled by the buttons within the popup window itself. If you click anywhere inside the popup, you could be asking for trouble.
The issue: Your password is weak
Believe it or not, there are a bunch of bots and viruses out there that are specifically designed just to guess your password. They will literally run through thousands of the most common passwords until they guess yours correctly. So if your password is simple, chances are it will be simple to hack, too.
The answer: Give it some Vegemite
The solution here is as simple – and complicated – as making sure all of your computers, systems and accounts are protected by a strong password. Use a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. Make sure you change it every month and – this should go without saying – never, EVER use “password” as your password!
The issue: You’ve lost everything
One particularly nasty little virus that has been rearing its dirty little head of late, likes to steal away all your data and hold it to ransom. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it is a risk, however small.
The answer: Back me up!
Automated backups really are a lifesaver. They ensure you’ll always have access to a snapshot of your data that is less than eight hours old. With BackMEup, your valuable data is backed up off-site every few hours, and can be retrieved with just one phone call to Shortcuts. Alternatively, you can back up to a USB key and take it with you every night when you leave your business.
The issue: You’re a little vulnerable
With all these not-so-nice things at large on the internet, you could be forgiven for feeling a little vulnerable.
The answer: Protect yourself
One great way to protect yourself from viruses is to let your software do it for you. Install antivirus software such as AVG Antivirus, and keep it up-to-date. You’ll usually have the option to scan everything in real-time, which will enable you to monitor everything as you go.
If you’d like to find out more, this booklet from the Australian Government has some great advice.