Security Tips Series, 1 - Internet

Thursday, September 10, 2020

This is the first article in a series of weekly security tips for telecommunications users. First up are general tips for using the internet. 

Enable multi-factor authentication/two-factor authentication (MFA & 2FA)
Multifactor authentication creates a layered defence that makes it harder for an unauthorised person to access a computer, device, network or database. MFA simply means that there is more than one method of security verification to verify a user’s identity. For example, something you know – a password or pin, something you have - security token (authenticator or SMS code), and something you are - biometric verification (fingerprint scan). All two-factor authentication is multifactor authentication. 2FA is just a type of MFA where you only need two factors to get account access.

Ensure transactions are secure
On HTML5 searches secure connections are signified by the padlock icon that appears in the top left corner of the address bar. If making a payment you should: check that the lock icon appears, not use a public WIFI connection or someone else’s computer, and ensure you access the payment system through a login of some sort. If you aren’t sure of the website or vendor reputation before making a purchase, do some research on them to ensure they are reputable before entering any details. Read the privacy policy, look for digital certificates and check your email for confirmation of the order once the transaction has been made.

Choose strong and unique passwords
Whether you want to use a password generator, or are happy to create your own, a strong password is critical if you want to keep your data secure. A strong password has more than 15 characters, includes upper and lowercase letters, and includes a number and a symbol. An example of a strong password that has these attributes is q@WkkT-27wxmD/o-.

Limit the personal information you give out online
Once something is online it can be very hard to remove. As the saying goes, “once it’s on the internet it’s there forever”. This means that you need to be selective with the kinds of things you are sharing on social networks, emails, websites and when using online trading/shopping sources. All of your internet actions are tracked by your provider and the pages you visit will also use your cookies, which will then create a picture of your preferences, which brands can use to remarket to you or sell your profile/data to other companies looking to target you. We recommend not posting any information about you, your friends or your family that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with strangers.

Check your bank statements monthly
Make sure you regularly check your accounts to ensure your money is not being stolen or moved without your knowledge. If you are doing your internet banking, use a secure computer and type the banking link into the search bar. Never share your login details or account number with anyone and don’t use links or texts sent from ‘your bank’ as these are often actually links sent by scammers impersonating the bank.

Watch out for scams and hacks
Scams and hacks can come in many different forms, so you always need to be on the alert to prevent yourself from being one of the targets of these. From phishing scams to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, there are many ways you may be the target of a scam. The best thing to do to avoid them is to be vigilant and control your personal use of the internet and the tools you use to access it. If something seems to good to be true, if money is requested, if there are spelling and grammar errors in the email or on the website, it is probably a scam. Be careful what you click!

Public Internet
Make sure you log-off when using a public computer and clear your data/website logins so that none of the passwords or username details are saved. Don’t access sensitive information when using public WIFI connections or shared devices. Public WIFI is best used for tasks that do not require logins or security functions to be accessed.

About us

What is TDR and what do we do?
TDR stands for ‘Telecommunications Dispute Resolution’ a free and independent service that helps consumers manage complaints about any product or service from their telecommunications provider. We resolve complaints about landline, mobile and internet issues.

Why are we sharing this?
We decided to do a blog to inform people about the trending topics happening in the telecommunications industry, as well as sharing our knowledge of disputes in the sector.