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Cyber Smart Week teaches online protection to New Zealanders

The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media is encouraging everyone to take a few easy steps to protect themselves online during the Cyber Smart Week.

Living in an increasingly digital world, where everything and everyone is connected means that everything is online, whether relationships, jobs, or finances.

While people enjoy the benefits of having digital lives, online security deserves more than a ‘set-and-forget’ set-up.

According to a recent report, the Cyber Smart Week is New Zealand’s cyber security awareness week and runs from 08 – 12 October 2018.

Now on its second year, the event is organised by CERT NZ, in collaboration with more than 70 public and private sector partners to help keep Kiwis safe online.

The latest statistics from CERT NZ show that everyday New Zealanders have lost almost NZ$ 10 million to cyber-attacks in the last year.

Moreover, there are also serious harms that are not monetary. These reports are a great reminder that everyone needs to take a minute to review their online security.

The good news is that protecting the online self can be as simple as taking a few basic steps. This Cyber Smart Weeks, the team at CERT NZ is encouraging all New Zealanders to do a few simple things to protect themselves online.

Use Unique Passwords.  Since people have the tendency to use the same password for all the accounts, or stick to two or three different ones that are used over and over, an attacker can  get access to several accounts once they get hold of one password.

Make each of the passwords long, strong, and most of all, unique.

Set up Two-factor Authentication (2FA). With 2FA, a user needs to provide two things before gaining access to an account, usually a password and something else.

There is an option to get a code sent to an app on the phone, which can be used to complete the login.

Make sure apps are updated. Updates are not just about adding new features, but also fix vulnerabilities that attackers can use to gain access to personal information.

Delete any apps that are not being used anymore. There will be no more need to update them plus space will be freed up on the device.

Check privacy settings. It is necessary to be aware of how much of the online self is being shared, and with whom.  This encompasses the information chosen to be shared as well as the information asked by companies associated with the online accounts of the individual.

Check the privacy controls of social media accounts and set them so that only family and friends can see the full details. Ensure that any request for personal information is legitimate before providing them.

Like many things, a little bit of time spent now can help keep people and their families safe in the future. It will not hurt to do a little bit of maintenance to stay on top of one’s own cyber security.

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