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5 common cyber security myths

The internet is no longer the sole domain of computer types and IT geeks; everyone and their grandma knows how to use email and plenty more have mastered social media. But with the public’s growing technological literacy comes increased awareness of cyber security.

The media’s focus on the negative points can make it feel like there’s a hacker on every page waiting to strike. We at Tesco Mobile are here to debunk that myth, and plenty others to help keep you safe online.

Myth one: I am not important enough to be targeted

Although you’re unlikely to be targeted by a deliberate and malicious attack from hackers, it’s still important to keep up-to-date with your cyber security. You may think you don’t have anything worth stealing, but when you consider your internet use, this theory starts to fall apart. Your social media pages are full of personal information; your online shopping accounts have your credit card details. In an ideal world, we would all use aliases online, but this is impossible in the age of digital communication. Instead, check your social media privacy settings, make sure you never put any personal information into the public realm, and change your passwords regularly – as well as making sure they’re as complicated as possible.

Myth two: I installed software which will protect me

Anti-virus software is a good start when it comes to staying protected online, but cyber crime has evolved, so your defense against it should as well. One mode of protection isn’t enough for the numerous methods of attack that exist. No single security programme is bullet-proof, so look into other options: think parental controls, ad blockers, a firewall and anti-spyware, and don’t fall for marketing or PR that claims any one programme is the only one you need.

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Myth three: I will notice straight away if I’ve been targeted

There are different ways for cyber attackers to pounce – some will make it clear with pop-ups or by locking down your PC immediately, but others are less obvious. The sneakier attacks will chip away at your protection, slowly gaining more and more information as they attempt to get into your network. It’s important to always be aware of what’s going on with your device. Keep an eye on everything and the minute something seems suspicious, check it out. It’s far better to be safe than sorry, and it will save you a lot of hassle, too.

Myth four: It’s not my responsibility to make sure I’m safe

It’s easy to blame the websites you use for anything that may happen to you – after all, they should know what they’re doing, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that, and even the biggest and best are vulnerable. For example, eBay was attacked in 2014, resulting in millions of user names and passwords being stolen – then, after working on recovering their reputation for being safe and secure, the same thing happened again a year later. And although device manufacturers are constantly working on making their products impenetrable, cyber attackers are developing at similar rates. While it is unlikely that you will be a target, users need to work with their technology to make sure that all bases are covered as well as they can be.

Myth five: My smartphone isn’t vulnerable to cyber crime

Since smartphones have become the primary computing device for most people, cyber criminals have begun targeting mobile devices in a number of ways – from malicious apps to phishing schemes and spyware. In order to minimise security risks on your phone, you should be cautious when downloading apps, be wary of text messages and e-mails from unknown sources, and be vigilant when connecting to questionable Wi-Fi networks at hotels and airports.

Your phone may be a small device, but it contains a host of sensitive information, and it deserves just as much protection as your computer. You should consider comprehensive mobile security options on your phone, including antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware.