In the context of protecting the privacy of every user who uses the internet, the ADAE (Communications Privacy Assurance Authority) has taken various actions, which ensure the safety of the user on the internet; issues regulations to establish security measures by companies-providers, deals with complaints about breaches of telephone and internet communications and conducts regular inspections to see if the relevant rules are being properly applied.
For the celebration of the International Safer Internet Day, which is established on February 8, ADAE announces to the digital users a helpful list of the measures they should apply for the safe internet browsing and for the protection of the privacy of their communications.
Indicatively, some of the measures to avoid cyber threats, which are contained in the ADAE newsletter, are:
• Select and install on your computer a malware (antivirus) program of a well-known and trusted company.
• Enable the automatic update feature to protect your computer from the latest malware. Some programs also support “anti-spyware” functions.
• Install a “firewall” on your computer. The “firewall” controls the communication to and from your personal computer, allowing or prohibiting certain types of traffic, in order to prevent the spread of viruses and unwanted applications. Some operating system versions (eg WindowsXP / SP2) have a built-in “firewall”.
• Make regular updates to Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc.). It is recommended that you turn on “auto-update” and update when you receive a notification.
• Use a strong “password” with letters, symbols and numbers, different for each application you maintain an account with. Avoid using “passwords” that are easy to memorize (such as dates, known terms, letter sequences, or first names). A suggested solution for creating a “password” is to choose to use a combination of lowercase – uppercase, letters – numbers, with at least 8 digits.
• Keep your “passwords” secret and change them at regular intervals (at least once every 6 months).
• Always enable the built-in protection features of your browser, such as pop-up blocking, cookie management, etc.
• Pay attention to signs that your computer may be infected with a virus, such as the following:
- your system suddenly becomes noticeably slower to boot and / or run
- it takes longer to open your files than usual
- some files appear corrupted, or do not load
- messages from your “antivirus” program, or other unusual messages are displayed
• Use programs only from trusted sources. Apps found on the Internet should only be used when you are sure of the source.
• Avoid viewing unknown files, messages, or links. Before opening a file, enable the “virus scanning” filter.
• Make sure you are logged out of your account on an online service website (eg online banking) through the log out link before you leave.
• Avoid enabling “password reminder/memorization” when using browsers, especially when accessing the Internet from shared computers.
• Verify that you are using a secure connection when sending sensitive personal information over the World Wide Web. This is shown by the lock padlock icon, and the address you are linking to should start with “https: //” instead of “http: //”.
• If you connect to the Internet from a public network (internet café, hotels, etc.), do not use or transmit your personal information. Avoid visiting websites where you have to use your personal “passwords”, especially if the exchange of information is not encrypted (eg https). These networks may not be secure and may interfere with your personal data.
• If you use a device to access the Internet, which is also accessed by third parties, it is recommended that you delete your browsing history and cookies. You can also turn off the storage of the navigation history through the “settings” of the program.
Measures to protect the confidentiality of electronic mail
If your email account has recently been compromised, or if someone else has accessed it, you should change your password immediately.
• Never use your account “password” to access other sites.
• Do not open attachments from unknown third parties, or from untrusted sources. When receiving an email, even from seemingly trusted sources (such as banks), carefully check its origin before opening a link to it, as it may lead you to a website that, while appearing to be the same as legitimate, is fake.
• Do not send your “passwords” via email. Legitimate websites that offer online services will never ask you to send your “passwords” via email.
• Keep tracking of email account activity, such as your account links, password changes, or information used to retrieve your passwords (add an alternate email address or phone number). If you notice any suspicious indications, you should change your “password” immediately.
• Monitor the sending and receiving of emails. If you notice that many messages in your account can not be found, or if you notice that unknown messages are sent from your account, change the “password” immediately.
• Verify that your mail is not being forwarded to an address that you have not specified. If you find an unwanted forward, remove it immediately.
• If possible, enable the “two step verification” process to access your account (eg by sending a special one-time “password” to your mobile phone).
• Do not forget to log out of your account, especially if you are logged in from a shared computer (eg a library or an Internet café). Keep in mind that you may still be logged in, even after you close your browser.
• Encrypt messages, or attachments that contain confidential information.
Privacy measures for wireless internet access
Enable encryption on your wireless router. Prefer WPA encryption or even better WPA2. Use strong passwords for the encryption key, which you change frequently. You change the name of the network (SSID), giving your own name, different from the one set by the manufacturer.
• Set up the wireless network to accept connections only from specific computers, tablets, and cell phones (MAC address filtering).
• Change the “username” and security code for managing the wireless router from the value set by the manufacturer (username and password admin). In addition, you change the “password” you set at regular intervals.
• Disable remote management access to your router, if this access is not already disabled by the manufacturer.
• Change the setting to prevent the management of your router over a wireless connection.
• You can check your wireless router for which devices are connected or requesting a connection to it. If you notice connections from unknown devices, change your passwords immediately.
• Turn off the wireless network, when not in use.
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