GOOSE VPN Guide to Cyber Safety

What You Need To Know and What You Need To Do

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Hello!

If you are reading this, it might be because you took our cyber security quiz, didn’t score as highly as you would have liked to and are now in a state of internet-induced anxiety, wondering just how many times you could have potentially fallen victim to cyber criminals.

Or maybe it’s because all of the stories of cyber scandals over recent years have become too much and you want to know how you can protect yourself?

CHILL! We have your back – our guide to cyber security will make sure you are up to snuff when it comes to protecting your data online.

Passwords

Complex Passwords

We know. You’ve come across this nugget of information before, but it really is critical when it comes to keeping your personal information secure.

It’s said that passwords using seven to nine ‘normal’ characters take between 0.29 milliseconds and 5 hours to crack, while nine characters can take up to five days.

The most common type of password include names that are meaningful to us, such as a partner, sibling or pet name. But all this information is easily found on the internet.

To prevent your passwords being easily guessed or hacked, follow these tips:

  • Use passwords with more than 10 characters
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters
  • Tip 3

Multi-factor Authentication

This basically means you need to enter at least two pieces of evidence to prove who you are before being granted access.

This might be a combination of a password or PIN and something else only you would know or have. This might be a card or biometric identification, such as the fingerprint scanner on your phone.

More platforms and apps are offering this added layer of security, so it’s worth checking out.

Multiple Passwords

Stop using the same password for all of your accounts. Immediately.

If one account has been compromised, then so have all your other accounts.

Creating and remembering multiple complex passwords isn’t an easy feat, but it’s in your best interest. If you need to store them somewhere, make sure it’s an encrypted password keeper.

Changing Your Password

Changing your password regularly reduces the risk of your data being compromised. It also prevents constant access if an account has already been compromised or if keystroke logger technology has been used.

It is recommended you change your passwords every 60-90 days, prioritising the accounts that contain very sensitive data, such as online banking.

‘Save Password’ Options

We know this feature is extremely convenient, but it’s not a difficult task for those in the know to locate your saved passwords in your browser.

Avoid ‘save password’ options where possible.

Click Happy

Gone Phishin’

Phishing emails can be devastating to those who are targeted; and while we are sure most of us no longer succumb to that nice offer from the Nigerian prince that just wants to use our bank account to deposit his spare millions, we are falling for other fake emails designed to look like brands we know and trust.

You should be sceptical of any emails that are after private information, but you should also think twice about the following:

  • Emails that tell you your information is compromised or contain alarming messages about your account
  • Emails that ask you to simply ‘click a link’ to resolve the problem

If you are concerned there could be some truth in any email or message you receive, you should contact the business involved and check with them over the phone.

Social Engineering

Like phishing scams, social engineering are techniques used by cyber criminals to influence individuals into handing over confidential information.

Hackers have learnt how to use social engineering to manipulate the individual, building communication on social platforms or using public, co-working or hot desking spaces to monitor inbox screens, noting trusted names to use.

Just like phishing emails, personal or account details should never be handed over and suspicious links sent in this nature should never be clicked on.

 

Pop-Ups

We know what you are thinking, ‘how am I NOT meant to click on this ad telling me this teenager found an abandoned house in the woods and I’ll never guess what happens next’?

Like the ad that pops up that tells you, you are the 100th visitor and have won a substantial amount of money, we can tell you what happens next – you end up full of regret.

These ads are created to entice the user to click on them and even the ‘close’ button could trigger further pop-ups or download a virus onto the device.

But its not just these click-bait ads that are sinister, some ads even appear to be selling anti-virus software. The irony.

Our advice? Don’t click on them at all. Instead, close them down using your task manager or a keyboard shortcut like Alt F4.

Online Payments

Secure, Trusted Websites

The only websites you should be putting your payment details into are ones that have the credentials and icons that indicate they are verified and secure.

Things to check:

  • Does the website have a padlock symbol in the address bar?
  • Does the site URL begin with https:// indicating it is secure?
  • Check the website’s SSL certificate by clicking on the padlock symbol
  • Read reviews of the company – are they reputable? If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

Card Payments

Credit cards are king when it comes to fraud or other financial losses. This is because your credit card company offers an added level of legal protection via ‘section 75’ of the Consumer Credit Act that means you are protected from any fraudulent payments made using your card.

If you are using your debit card, you can still report the theft and data breach to your bank, but be prepared for a potentially long, drawn-out process.

Operating Systems

Keeping Up to Date

Hands up if you probably need between five reminders before implementing the software update on your device or application?

It’s easy to click ‘later’ or ‘cancel’, but you are making a mistake.

While the software update might cost us a few minutes of downtime, not doing it can cost us a lot more.

Software updates provide fixes and patches for known vulnerabilities and security issues, so by opting not to install them, you are effectively putting your financial, sensitive and personal data at risk.

We advise you to implement them as soon as they become available.

Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is both a blessing and a curse.

It can be a huge convenience, but using public Wi-Fi networks can present a world of problems, because they are unsecure and unprotected.

This means that they are vulnerable to being exploited by hackers who can easily scrape the data being transmitted on the public Wi-Fi or even create an ‘evil twin’ hotspot, whereby they can view all of your online activity once you are connected.

How often do you see multiple access points available for one network, such as:

  • Coffeeshop WiFi
  • Coffeeshop WiFiFREE
  • Coffeeshop WiFiGuest

Which one is the authentic network? It’s anyone guess. But please, stop guessing and stop connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks without also using protection. Use a VPN to protect your data.

Use Protection

The onus is on you to protect yourself, and there are a number of ways that you can do so.

VPN

One of those methods is of course, a VPN. (Hi, we are GOOSE VPN, nice to meet you).

A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network creates a secure, encrypted internet connection, hiding your activity from your internet service provider, Wi-Fi provider, and also cyber criminals, meaning everything that you do online is far more secure.

No-one can see what you are searching, and no-one can see the details that you are entering. Cloak and dagger my friend, cloak and dagger.

Antivirus and malware software

Newsflash – there are questionable individuals out there creating malevolent programs to disrupt lives and steal your personal data. With this in mind, it’s vital you protect yourself.

You can do everything in your power to be safe and responsible online; avoid suspect links, visit reputable sites, and only download items from official sources and you can still find yourself outsmarted by those evil geniuses.

So, what can you do?

  • You can install anti malware and antivirus software onto your devices

and before you ask – they aren’t the same thing. Antivirus protection prevents a device from becoming infected in the first place, while anti malware finds and destroys malicious programs that have found their way onto the device. While the two elements can have some crossover, its advisable to install both tools in conjunction to maximise protection.

In Conclusion

The internet can be a wonderful, yet sometimes terrifying place, and the onus is on, us, the user to ensure that we are carrying out our activity in a safe and responsible manner.

We would like to help you keep safe online, so why not sign up with GOOSEVPN and connect to as many public Wi-Fi hotspots as you like, safe in the knowledge your browsing will be hidden from prying eyes.

Take GOOSE VPN with you on any device

With GOOSE VPN you are safe and limitless online within just 3 steps, within 3 minutes. No technical knowledge is required. GOOSE VPN is available for all devices. Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Sign up, install, and press connect.

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