Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Safer Internet Day – 5 simple tips for staying safe online

February 8, 2022

The digital world continues to transform our lives, but it also creates a space for criminal and malicious activity. In this new hybrid world, where we increasingly rely on the internet to communicate, collaborate and consume content, it is vital we pay even more attention to staying safe online. Attacks via e-mails, compromised links and attachments increased last year and will remain a real source of danger in 2022. Despite advanced security technologies, people are the most important factor in reducing the risk of online attacks in their personal and professional lives.

What can people do to protect themselves from online attacks? Here are 5 simple tips for staying safe online:


1 – Stay alert and cautious

Pop-ups are not friends. Links may lead to a fake site. Attachments can be false promises. Pay attention to hassles received on your PC or smartphone, as there are numerous ways digital criminals seduce their victims. Perhaps the promise of a discount, a refund or an email that says it’s waiting for you can seem enticing? Today, forgery isn’t even limited to email. In principle, you should not trust SMS messages either. And of course, be careful with company information. Reputable people and companies will never ask you for sensitive information like passwords.

2 – Use unique passwords and a second device

A long password is better than a short one. An incomprehensible password with many special characters and digits is better than a word. It is important to have a different password for each app and web service, rather than always using the same one.

And perhaps the single most important thing you can do is to use multi-factor authentication such as Duo.  This means a second device, usually your smartphone, is needed to confirm authorisation.

3 – Only install apps from safe sources

Avoid installing games, themes, wallpapers and supposedly performance-enhancing magic fixes on devices, especially for business purposes. Certainly not an app that comes from a nameless developer from the furthest corners of the internet. Only use the official app stores from Apple, Google or the smartphone manufacturer. While there may be malware on there, the risk is far less than loading installation files onto your device from other sources. If z absolutely need a specific app, check with your IT department.

4 – Update, update, update

Software always contains vulnerabilities – one problem is those that are known and exploited. Digital crime immediately pounces on it. Security-conscious and responsible manufacturers disclose weak points and address them in a short time. This is how Cisco handles things for all its products. Safety processes are essential for product quality and must already be integrated in the product design. For the user, this means you should always update your software as soon as an update appears.

5 – Do not circumvent security measures

Security can be uncomfortable. For this reason, many employees repeatedly bypass existing security measures and, for example, go online with their company laptop without a VPN and using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Never try to circumvent existing IT security precautions. Convenience plays into the hands of cybercriminals.


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