Convenience vs safety: Take the Cyber Aware approach

With fewer than ten shopping days left until Christmas, how Cyber Aware are you being when you’re browsing, purchasing and (let’s be honest) panicking about last minute treats and trimmings? Working with Cyber Aware, the Government’s cyber security initiative, which aims to help people to take control of their cyber security, we at Noddle have been finding out.

Our research uncovered the risky online behaviours people are undertaking in pursuit of convenience. Which of these sound familiar to you?[1]

  • 86% of people online don’t always read the terms and conditions when downloading a new app
  • More than 1 in 5 consumers have, or would be prepared to, disable the security settings on their internet-enabled device so they can use an app
  • A quarter (25%) consider it more important to skip software updates (because they think it is time consuming) than wait a few minutes to use their device
  • 1 in 4 consumers say it is more important for them to use the same, simple password for all their accounts because it’s easier to remember – even though they know it’s less secure – than have different passwords that are more secure, but harder to remember
  • Over a quarter (27%) of consumers do not think it is possible to be secure online and still do everything they want to

Of course, for many people, being online is all about convenience, but there are ways to still do what you want quickly and easily whilst staying secure. Noddle and Cyber Aware have put together five top tips. This is based on expert advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ.

 

Our top tips are easy to remember using the mnemonic AWARE:

  • A – Always download software updates. Software and app updates contain vital security upgrades, which help keep your devices secure. Turn on auto updates to make sure you’re benefitting from these upgrades.
  • W – Watch out for bogus friend requests. Don’t always accept friend requests on social media as you could end up with more foes than intended.
  • A – Actively check your privacy and security settings. Never disable the security settings on your device, social media profiles or online banking and check your privacy settings are high on the services you use, like Facebook.
  • R – Random words make for strong passwords. A strong password is your first defence against hackers and cyber criminals. Use three random words to make a strong password.
  • E – Every shopping basket should be secure. Check for the padlock symbol or ‘https’ in the URL before finalising any online purchase.

It’s also good practice to check your credit report regularly for searches you don’t recognise. This might be a sign that someone is trying to apply for credit in your name, so if you don’t know why a search has appeared, get in contact with the company who made it to clarify.

Cybercrime can cost money and time, which may be in short supply during the festive period. A cyber breach can also have a longer term effect, even having an impact on your credit score and the way lenders view you. Don’t risk it. Get AWARE and make it hard for cyber criminals to compromise your Christmas.

 

[1] Research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Noddle. 2,005 smartphone users aged 18+, who use the Internet at least once a month, were surveyed in October 2016 via an online survey.