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Cyber Crime: Steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved one

Alumni (Retired)

Here are some practices that we can adopt to safeguard ourselves from falling victim to cyber crime. Unprotected devices (routers, webcams, printers, phones, third party TV boxes, network attached storage, etc) can potentially allow unauthorised access to sensitive data, like passwords, credit card information. They can also be used as an army of cyber weapons for malicious activities, like sending spam, slowing internet access and launching attacks to take down websites and IT systems.

 

Before purchase:

  • Buy devices from trusted retailers.
  • Buy devices from reputable manufacturers that value security and release device firmware patches regularly for your devices. Firmware updates improve product features, including security measures.
  • When buying online or from overseas, be wary of unbranded devices, fly-by-night sellers or offers that are too good to be true.
  • Check that the devices have in-built security measures, including password protection to prevent others from accessing and changing your device settings for malicious purposes.
  • Check that the wireless devices come with the latest in Wi-Fi security technology, such as Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), to encrypt your Wi-Fi network and prevent others from tapping your connection.

 

As soon as possible after purchase:

General practice

  • Change all default device login passwords immediately. Check the product manual for instructions on how to change the default password. Reputable manufacturers will list good security practices on their website.
  • All passwords should be at least eight characters long and contain a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, making them harder to crack. Passwords should not contain personally identifiable information or dictionary words. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts, and change them regularly.

Wi-Fi enabled devices like wireless routers, wireless access points and power line adapters.

  • Pay special attention to the settings in your wireless router, as it is the gateway between your home devices and the internet. For customers’ easy reference, StarHub maintains on its website a list of wireless router models recommended for use with our home broadband service.
  • Change the SSID or network name from the default name.
  • Use strong passwords for your Wi-Fi connections to protect your network and prevent unauthorised users from connecting to it. Change passwords regularly.
  • Switch on the in-built firewalls as an extra layer of protection.
  • Do these changes by logging in to the router through a web browser or accompanying software.
  • Computers
  • Install reputable security solutions to keep your computers free of viruses and malware.

 

Down the road:

  • Perform regular software updates to keep your devices running optimally.
  • Perform regular scans using security software to keep viruses and malware at bay.
  • If the devices were not to work well, reset the device to their default settings and go through setup process again.
  • Manufacturers will often cease support for older devices. This means that the manufacturers will stop issuing software updates, which keeps the devices running optimally. It is therefore good practice to replace older devices with newer ones that come with better features and security, whenever possible.

 

Other cyber security tips:

  • Never reveal personal information like passwords over email.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious looking emails, websites, links or advertisements, and verify with the sender.
  • Uninstall any suspicious software or application.
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