Keep your Antivirus updated, and use genuine software. Pirated software often contains malware (malicious software) that can compromise your computer and leave it open for someone to steal information.
Avoid posting pictures of yourself, your family and your loved ones online. People with ill intent often manipulate these and may use them to blackmail you.
Use strong passwords for your accounts (email, social media etc). Avoid using passwords that resemble words, birthdays, names of family members. The stronger your password they more difficult it is to break it. Your password should be a well maintained secret; do not disclose this to anyone. Young children must be taught to use passwords as and not to share them with friends.
If you use social media like facebook and twitter, set strong security settings. If you must share your pictures, don’t do it with strangers, or even friends of friends. Do not accept friend request on just looking the display picture & name of sender, verify the person before accepting the request.
Never give your personal information online (whether at home or at school) such as your name, home address, telephone, school name etc.
Keep a close watch on what your children do online. Your child must inform you who they communicate with online, and what they do. Look for signs that make your child look disturbed, uncomfortable or emotionally distressed. Remember anyone can be a victim of cyber bullying and blackmailing, even older children especially teenage girls. The internet is also a recruiting ground for criminals. Your child can easily get involved in the wrong company. You may install a Parental Control application on your PC/ Laptop/ Tablet for added safety.
Mobile phones/ Smart phones
Protect your phone with a password. In case it gets stolen the thief will have to wipe the phone’s data before using it. If your phone gets stolen, and there is no password on it, you may start getting obnoxious / blackmailing phone calls. Do not store personal information and photos on your phone unless it’s protected by a strong password.
Do not open email from just anyone. Also be wary of opening attachments. Be cautious of scams initiated by people claiming to be from companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook etc claiming that your account is being blocked unless you forward the email.
Lotteries and Inheritance
Remember you cannot win a lottery without buying a ticket. Do not reply to emails which claim that you have won a lottery in another country. Do not respond to emails from senders claiming to be for example wives, daughters or relatives of rich presidents with millions of dollars in their accounts. If you are conned into their trap, you will end up paying large amounts of money as “administrative fees”.
Do not apply for online jobs without verifying the job site. There are fake companies who collect your personal data (picture, home address, email etc.) and can use your personal data for blackmailing.
Verify the online shopping website before making any online purchase. Fake online vendors can collect your credit card details and other personal data.