Staying Safe Online During Lockdown
The COVID-19 lockdown means that many of us are going on-line to work from home, keep in touch with our family and friends and continue apprenticeships and other programmes of learning.
It is such a positive for those of us that can do this and here at cHRysos HR, the team and our learners have embraced online meetings and virtual workshops. The team have found new ways of communicating, not just for work, but to help us socialise and feel part of a team. We've held online coffee mornings and lunches, made even more fun by having a weekly fundraising theme such as ‘Tiaras and Ties’, a crazy hat competition and a fancy dress week. As this article goes live, the team have raised £265 in support of Dove House Hospice in Hull and the wonderful work they do.
Whilst being able to communicate in this way is a lifeline at this difficult time, it also means we need to be extra vigilant about online safety – there has been a piece in the press lately about GCHQ taking down over 2,000 coronavirus-related scams in the past month, including: over 470 stores selling fake coronavirus-related items, over 550 malware distribution sites, 200 phishing sites and over 830 advanced-free fraud attempts.
To help keep you safe online, we felt it would be good to share some useful resources with you, particularly from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
- The NCSC are encouraging us to report suspicious emails through their Suspicious Email Reporting Service. You can access this service here and there is clear information on the site about what happens once you have reported an email.
- NSCS have also launched a Cyber Aware campaign to help us all stay safe online during coronavirus. The Cyber Aware site has lots of useful advice about protecting yourself and your family online.
- The site Get Safe Online has some valuable advice on protecting yourself online and what to do if are affected.
- Many of us are using Video Conferencing for work or to chat with family and friends and the NCSC have produced some really helpful guidance on using these systems securely - you can find it here, along with guidance for IT and security professionals setting up video conferencing in their organisation.
Some of the key things recommended for safe video conferencing include:
- Not sharing details of a meeting on any public online forum or on social media and setting up a password for attendees to join your meeting.
- Making sure there is nothing personal or sensitive that can be seen in the background when you use video conferencing. You might want to use a background image instead.
NCSC Top 6 Tips for Staying Safe Online During Coronavirus:
- Update the devices you use: Regularly update your software and apps when a device prompts you to do this. In part, updates are designed to address any weaknesses that criminals may use to access your data. Cyber Aware tells you how to set automatic updates for software and apps so you don’t have to remember to do this manually.
- Create a strong password of three random words: Replace old passwords and make sure your new passwords are strong. Cyber Aware recommends using three random but memorable words, as well as special characters.
- Back up information and data: Personal information can be lost or access to data locked if you have a device that is hacked so it’s important to back up your important information. Cyber Aware tells you how to do this on different types of device.
- Create a separate password for email: Your email account will contain a lot of personal information about you and gives access to other online accounts you may have. It’s therefore really important to have a strong password for your email account to protect all of this information. The Cyber Aware site provides links that tell you how to change your email password for the main email hosts such as Google, BT and Outlook.
- Make use of two-factor authentication: This gives you an extra layer of online protection from being hacked by asking for a second piece of information from you to double check authenticity, such as sending you a text with a code that has to be entered when logging into a site. The feature often has to be turned on by you to make it work, so it is worth looking for this on sites that have important information about you, such as your email and social media accounts.
- Remember passwords by saving them in your browser: It’s important not to use the same password for all your account and much safer instead to have different passwords and then to store these in your browser so you don’t have to remember them all. The Cyber Aware site tells you how to do this for the most popular browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari.
cHRysos HR Solutions is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD and CMI accredited qualifications nationwide, as well as HR Consultancy to SMEs. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you return to study and achieve further qualifications contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1302 802128