Here’s what you need to know about your personal information security

hands-keyboard-information-securityCybercrime is one of those things that most people think will never happen to them – until it does. We’re all confident that we’re too sharp to unwittingly install malware, fall for phishing emails or download corrupted attachments. It’s this confidence that lulls most of us into a false sense of security, which is dangerous and exactly where the cybercriminals want us.

 

Just last month, there were reports of a Gmail hack that managed to pull the wool over even the most knowledgeable technophiles’ eyes. An innocent-looking attachment from a convincingly familiar source led to a very believable Gmail login page, wherein users would enter their login, basically handing the phishers the keys to everything connected to their Google accounts.

So we suggest you disabuse yourself of the idea that you’re immune to cybercrime and start taking these proactive steps to avoid being a victim.

Shopping online

A basic rule of thumb to follow when shopping online is to always look at the address bar for a few clues. Look for “https://” before the website URL as well as a padlock icon. What this tells us is that the website has SSL encryption installed, which is a security software protocol used to establish a secure communication between a browser and a web server. Any information transmitted via a website with this protocol installed is considered secure.

Another practical measure you can take is to start checking your statements regularly. Any charges that seem strange or out of the ordinary should be reported to the bank immediately.

Banking

A bank will never ask for your username, password or PIN via email, SMS or phone call. As long as you remember that, the next tip should be easy enough: always be suspicious of emails from the bank. Phishing emails disguised as communication from the bank are everywhere, some are easy to spot while others can look believable. Banks encourage all account holders to report any emails they suspect may be phishing scams and to never proceed with anything if they feel uncomfortable.

Additionally, set up your account so that it requires two-factor authentication when making any kind of online transaction. Two-factor authentication requires additional verification usually in the form of an OTP (one-time PIN) that is sent to the users mobile device. This way, even if phishers manage to get a hold of your login details, they can’t make any transactions without having your mobile device in their possession as well.

Payments

Insist on getting real-time notifications via SMS or email on all transactions that happen on your account. This includes cash withdrawals, point-of-sale purchases, debit orders and so on. Also be sure to adjust your withdrawal, swiping and EFT limits so that if your account is compromised not all your money can be taken if you fail to act immediately.

When making cash withdrawals at ATMs, remain vigilant at all times. If the ATM appears to have been tampered with or is in disrepair, find another machine. Avoid ATMs that are in crowded or busy locations where you can’t have total privacy and don’t let anyone distract you during your transaction. Most importantly, if you suspect that your card may have just been skimmed or if it gets stuck inside the machine, call your bank immediately to report it and have your card cancelled.

Personal information

When downloading apps, be wary of which apps you grant certain kinds of permissions to. Upon download, plenty of apps request access to your contacts, location, media files and any other personal information they may need in order to function properly. The gamble with granting them access to all this information is that cybercriminals no longer need to hack you personally to gain access to it; they can simply hack the app’s servers and gain access to the private data of thousands, sometimes millions, of users.

And, obviously, never store your passwords in the same place as your laptop, tablet or smartphone. No matter how securely you lock up your valuables, leaving them in the same place as corresponding passwords is tantamount to locking up your house and leaving the keys in door.

Security of personal information has always been a priority to Paycorp. Which is why all of our products adhere to the latest security standards. To learn more about our journey, view our company profile below.