Recently 20/20 Auckland manager Sue West was a guest lecturer for AUT students of the COMP607 Information Security Technologies course. Dr William Liu, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for MCIS/PGDip CIS/PGCert CIS/BCIS (Hons) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), invited Sue because of her expertise and knowledge of digital inclusion and also web security related challenges and opportunities.
Sue’s top 5 tips for web security
Here are Sue’s top 5 tips, addressing top security issues from the InternetNZ June 2017 survey of New Zealand perceptions of the Internet.
- Internet protection software – make sure you have internet protection software on your computer, update regularly and scan everyday.
This will help protect against viruses, Trojan Horses, adware and other malware.
- Login information – use strong passwords and login information that is different for each important website/App.
This will help guard against identity theft. A password can be made stronger by
- including a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and special characters
- using random characters
- making it longer – at least 8 characters long, ideally 13
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength have good information about what works – and what doesn’t – in keeping passwords secure.
- Email – Be careful about the emails you open in your Inbox – scan email attachments before opening them.
Be suspicious – if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is 99.99% likely to be a scam. Also, don’t trust visible links in emails – the underlying link address may be quite different. Retype the links in your browser.
- Software downloads: Scan software file downloads before you install it or use an online scanner
Downloading from reputable sites will help too. And (as above) don’t reach software download sites by clicking on emailed links.
- Online payments – make sure that the website address has the “https://” before the website url. This indicates a secure, encrypted, ‘safe’ page. Never share credit card details with others.
And (as above) don’t reach payment sites by clicking on emailed links. Type the address in to your browser.
Security good practices – and the confidence you gain by following them – are included in 20/20’s digital skills courses:
- introductory digital literacy levels in Family Connect, KiwiSkills Essentials/Digital Citizen and Computers in Homes
- a specific Stepping UP module, free at participating libraries and
- a certificated ICDL Security course.
Netsafe has online security advice for New Zealanders (and advice on Online Bullying & Harassment and Scams)