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12 Tips For Staying Safe Online

The internet has fundamentally changed the way we work and communicate. We can do things faster, more effectively, and cheaper. However, using the Internet for commerce and communication can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions.

In fact, 82% of data breaches involve a human element like making a mistake that enables cyber criminals to access an organization’s systems, according to Verizon’s Data Breach Incident Report. The damage from data breaches costs businesses $400 billion a year.

Use these 12 internet safety best practices to keep yourself, your family and your company protected.

1. Verify you are on a valid and legitimate website, and always double check before logging in to them.

Entering login information on a website before checking to see if it is a valid and legitimate website, makes you more susceptible to phishing attacks and increases the risk of your login information being disclosed to cyber criminals.

Here’s a quick checklist to see if a site is valid and legitimate:

  • Check the padlock in the address bar and make sure the connection is secure

  • Search any site using Google’s Transparency Report

  • Do you notice anything unordinary on the website? Are logos clear? Is good grammar and spelling used? Is the location shown? Are there customer reviews? How active is the company on social media? All indicators of a legitimate organization and website.

2. When you are done with a website, always log out rather than simply closing the browser window.

By simply closing the browser, instead of logging out first, you are increasing the risk of someone else gaining unauthorized access to the accounts that you were logged into. You are potentially allowing anyone with access to your computer, legally or not, to open the browser and have instant access to your accounts on sites, without entering any passwords or usernames. The risk is significantly higher on public systems or any system where you allow anyone else’s use.

3. Always verify if an email is genuine and safe before taking action on it

Failing to perform basic security checks on the emails you receive will increase your risk of being a victim of identity theft and computer compromise. Email is arguably the most common method used by attackers to trick users into disclosing confidential information and installing malicious programs.

Scammers like to impersonate your coworkers or a vendor that you use to make the email look legitimate. You can reach out to the employee or vendor that the email appears to have come from to validate if they sent it.

According to our knowledge, the biggest social engineering attack of this kind was perpetrated by Lithuanian national, Evaldas Rimasauskas, against Google and Facebook. A fake company was set up by Rimasauskas and his team pretending to be computer manufacturers working with Google and Facebook. In addition, Rimsauskas opened bank accounts in the company's name.