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Online Safety Checklist

 

Online Safety Checklist

  • Don't fall victim of a scam by responding to unexpected emails or text messages and don't click on any links or attachments within them.
  • Make sure that your computer's firewall is active and up to date.
  • Regularly check that your computer's operating system and software is up to date.
  • Always, choose a password and secret answer that you will remember, but will not be easily guessed by anyone else.
  • Secure sites have addresses that start with 'https' and a small padlock icon that appears in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window.
  • When you visit any of our websites type the URL address into your browser. This will ensure you go to the correct site and not a spoof or fraudulent site.

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Online fraud and phishing

There has been a steady rise in the volume of phishing attempts, which use fraudulent emails and websites to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, etc. Such attempts are increasingly professional and both the email and website may look entirely genuine, mimicking the trusted brand identity of the organisation involved. Banks, credit card agencies and online services such as AIB, Bank of Ireland, eBay, and Paypal have been targeted.

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To protect yourself

  • Do not give out personal information in response to an unsolicited contact, whether by phone, e-mail or other medium
  • Note that responsible organisations will never request such information by email
  • You must be very careful when asked to give out security information such as a password, pin number or security code and be particularly suspicious if too much is asked for: increasingly banks only ask for partial information for example the third, fifth and first digit of a pin
  • Do not be too reassured by the locked padlock icon on your browser: it simply means that the internet transaction is encrypted (and so very difficult to intercept) - not that it is going to the genuine site
  • Although online fraud is increasing, be aware that most credit card fraud is still in restaurants: do not let your card out of your sight
  • Note also that there is a rise in fraud through monitoring personal information at cash machines - do not use a cash machine if you see anything strange about it, there have been incidents where miniature cameras have been used to record pin numbers, while a realistic false front has been installed to record (or "skim") card details
  • Be sure you are going to the correct site by typing the address yourself or by using your own personal bookmark
  • You are recommended to delete the fraudulent message, though if you are particularly concerned, do feel free to report the matter, but do not attempt to engage in correspondence with the sender
  • If an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is not true, particularly if it is the promise of money from a lottery you have not entered or money for handling a large sum for somebody you have never met

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Phishing

Phishing is a fraudulent activity designed to trick you in to giving out your login details. Fraudsters can then use this information to log in to your account and steal information

Identifying a phishing email

  • Be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information.  We will never ask you to confirm your bank details or login information by email.
  • 'Dear Student' - phishing emails are usually sent out in bulk and therefore are unlikely to contain your first name or surname
  • Check the quality of the communication.  Misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.
  • 'Failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed' these types of messages are designed to convey a sense of urgency to prompt a quick response.

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Protect your computer

Any computer connected to the internet is vulnerable to malware; viruses, trojans or spyware.

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Viruses and Trojans

  • Viruses are harmful programs that disturb the way computers work. They come in many forms and can be attached to emails, disguised as innocent looking programs and documents, or spread by infected websites.
  • Viruses will try to either collect information about you and send it on to an unauthorised third party or damage your computer by removing important files or altering data.
  • Trojans can detect passwords when you log into a website and credit card details when you shop online. Some advanced Trojans can direct you to fake pages or a spoofed website, tricking you into disclosing sensitive information.
  • If your computer is affected by malware your personal and financial information could be easily compromised. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that the information on your computer is safe.

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Install antivirus software

  • Good antivirus software will scan your incoming emails, the websites you visit and files you open, for known viruses.
  • New viruses are discovered daily, so it is important that you set your antivirus software to update at least every 2 or 3 days.

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Turn on your Firewall

  • A firewall is an essential barrier between your computer and the internet, preventing anyone connecting to your computer without your permission. Most computers have inbuilt firewalls that will alert you if they are not turned on. There are other firewall products that can be downloaded and some will come as part of an antivirus package.
  • Make sure your computer has a firewall installed and that it is always turned on.

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Keep your operating system up to date

  • Malware can be made to target security loopholes and flaws in your operating system and the software it runs.
  • Most operating systems and software have an option to automatically check for updates when you connect to the internet; make sure this is turned on.
  • Other software you use can be updated by checking the manufacturer's website.

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Protect your wireless network

The wireless router which is used to connect your computer to the internet is the most common device that can be targeted by hackers to steal personal information from your computer. We don't advise using Wi-Fi hot spots to access your account. If you use a Wi-Fi network at home, make sure that it is secure.

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Keep your mobile device up to date

If you are accessing your account using a smartphone or tablet device, always make sure that your device's firmware, operating system and apps are up to date.

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Passwords

Tips for choosing a password

  • Don't use something that people can easily guess about you eg. your name, date of birth, or the town you are from
  • Always use a mixture of characters; letters and numbers
  • Don't use the same password for different accounts
  • Change your password regularly

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Protect your identity

  • Destroy all unwanted paperwork
  • Keep valuable documents in a secure place
  • Don't fall victim of a scam by responding to unexpected emails or text messages and don't click on any links or attachments within them

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Website security

  • When you log in your online account is protected by a secure encryption to keep your information safe. Our secure sites have addresses that start with 'https' and a small padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window.
  • Double click the padlock symbol to view information confirming that the site is genuine.
  • Always log out of our site when you have finished using it, and close the browser window. This ensures that your user session is closed properly.
  • We recommend that when you visit any of our websites that you type the URL address into your browser. This ensures you are going to the correct site and not a spoof or fraudulent site.

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Social networking

The nature of social networking sites such as facebook and twitter can create security risks. It is important to remain cautious when using them.

  • Always create strong passwords for online accounts and update them regularly on social media sites. Longer passwords (8-10 characters) that contain letters, numbers, and symbols are more secure. Avoid using the same password for multiple social media sites.
  • Be cautious of the information you post publicly such as your Customer Reference Number, address or date of birth. Use the site's privacy settings to limit who can see your personal information and posts.
  • Be careful who you befriend. You put yourself at risk by not taking the time to filter who you accept into your inner circle. Friend requests can be used by social bots to hack your network and by phishers trying to steal your personal information.
  • Stay up to date with changes to your social network's settings as small changes can cause big problems. If a site decides to changes it's privacy settings or policy this could leave your personal details more publicly available than they had been previously.
  • Review your social media profiles. Always consider how others may view the information you provide about yourself, your family and your friends and remember that social media sites are public resources.
  • Don't fall victim of a scam by responding to unexpected emails or text messages and don't click on any links or attachments within them.
  • Make sure that your computer's firewall is active and up to date.
  • Regularly check that your computer's operating system and software is up to date.
  • Always, choose a password and secret answer that you will remember, but will not be easily guessed by anyone else.
  • Secure sites have addresses that start with 'https' and a small padlock icon that appears in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window.
  • When you visit any of our websites type the URL address into your browser. This will ensure you go to the correct site and not a spoof or fraudulent site.

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