Safety on the Internet
8 February is Safer Internet Day. This is an excellent opportunity to consider how much private data we share on a daily basis and how we should protect it from fraudulent use. Europ Assistance Poland, which introduced the Safe Identity programme a few years ago, advises how to protect your data.
According to Norton by Symantec, 76% of Internet users know that they should protect their data online, while most of them give their passwords to others. Last year, 689 million people in 21 countries were victims of cybercrime. The annual global cost of cybercrime is $ 126 billion. According to the report, more than half of Internet users find it harder to stay safe online than in the real world.
So how to protect your data online?
Most consumer behaviour goes online. Starting with shopping, talking to financial advisors, using online banking, but also increasingly users are moving their private documents and photos to the web using popular clouds that give access to this data from anywhere in the world. And so, more and more scans of ID cards, insurance policies, passports are being scanned online. It is a very convenient solution that protects our documents in case of e.g. computer or laptop hard drives damage. However, when deciding on them, it is important to remember about proper protection of the cloud.
When choosing a password that protects your identity on the network, you should follow the basic rules. First, the password cannot be the same as the login. And in any form, whether it is written from the end, or written twice or with the exchange of letters from lowercase to highercase. The password must be different from the login. It should not be associated in any way with the user, including e.g. his/her name, surname, children's names, dates of birth, telephone numbers. It should also not be associated with the user's environment, the names of pets, car brands, housing estate names etc. should be avoided. It is also not worth using popular computer names or names of famous characters, whether from film, fairy tales or literature. It is also best to avoid dictionary and commonly known words. Sometimes it is enough to change one letter in a word to make it sound very original.
Good password decoding mechanisms have built-in dictionaries, and such replacement will prevent them from decoding the password. One of the most common mistakes made when creating passwords is to use keyboard sequences, e.g. qwerty123 or qazwsx987. It is also important to avoid creating passwords consisting of letters or numbers alone. So what is the best password? A good password is a combination of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, symbols and punctuation marks, has more than 7 characters and, most importantly, is changed frequently enough (at least once every 3 months). A good password is also properly protected - it is not disclosed to third parties, it is not saved, it is not duplicated for logging in several places. It is the only one for a given registration.
The Internet is not only a source of information and entertainment, but is also the place where someone else's personal data is most often used. To protect your identity, there are a few rules to follow. First of all, discretion. It is not worth sharing confidential information online. Even with the privacy settings, images and data on the web are quickly duplicated and forwarded. You should also be careful with banners, avoid clicking on suspicious ads or banners that suggest winning money. To avoid viruses, you must not open and respond to messages that appear suspicious, are from an unknown sender and have not been checked with an antivirus program. Installing such software will also help to eliminate unwanted messages, and will automatically block suspicious sites and advertisements. Therefore, it is worth taking care of such software and its current update. You also need to maintain your privacy and be creative in creating your online identity so that it does not reveal too much information and does not direct cybercriminals straight into our wallets.
In case of an attack...
A cheater who finds out about the damage should first report the case to the police. Even if the amount of fraud is not high, it is worthwhile to initiate proceedings. Sometimes the victims accept the loss of a small amount of money, and hackers cheat on several hundred people and enjoy considerable profits. The bank should also be informed as soon as possible in order to stop credit cards. Some banks offer the Safe Identity product for cards and accounts, developed and implemented by Europ Assistance Polska. This is a personal data protection and assistance program for identity theft. Under the programme, customers can count on two types of assistance: assistance and information. As part of the assistance, the clients will be supported by collecting the necessary information, assistance in reserving documents and cards, as well as providing information on further proceedings and protecting their identity. In addition, the services available to customers will also include assistance in obtaining new documents or cards, and abroad, assistance in obtaining replacement documents, the assistance of an interpreter, as well as a loan for necessary expenses in case of loss of means of payment. Europ Assistance Polska will also help you check your credit history and fill in a report request at the Credit Information Bureau. Such a report will detect possible attempts to use the customer's personal data to take out a loan.
As part of the information support, customers will receive detailed information on personal data protection, the reservation of payment and credit cards, the creation of new identity documents, as well as on security and identity protection online. After such an attack, it is also worth changing all the passwords and analysing the actions taken so far on the web to know what kind of behaviour to avoid in the future.