Staying Safe Soar Style

Created by
Andrew Duncan
January 25, 2021

The advice on how to stay safe from Covid-19 and its variants has been around a while now and we thought it would be good to give you our take on staying safe.

However, we know next to nothing about airborne viruses so we thought we'd stick to what we know and write an article with a few pointers on how to start the year with a few best practices on how you can improve your online safety.

Wash your hands regularly -> Change your passwords regularly!

Let's start with a question: when was the last time you changed your Wifi password?

Unless you can be certain that no-one other than those you've authorised to access your Wifi has the password then it's probably time to change it. At least that will keep unauthorised people out of your network and reduce the likelihood of you exposing data. Also, have you looked to see if your router supports a guest network? Perhaps now's the time to learn how to switch that on so you can keep guest traffic away from your own and reduce the chances of someone accessing your data.

Also, today's the day to change the password to your email, bank, social media accounts and anything else you can think is important.

Avoid meeting in groups -> Keep your data private

Don't fall foul of the numerous scams doing the rounds at the moment. Be extra vigilant not to login to the wrong websites, provide passwords over the phone, or use the same password numerous times. We're regularly receiving fake emails, messages and phone calls from scammers claiming to be The NHS, HMRC, Microsoft and, in fact, we even had a "lawyer" contact us claiming we had breeched some copyright the other day.

Try entering your email address into: It's surprising just how many sites are compromised and your data might be out there on the dark web. There are other services like this too, for example, the Clear Score app was recently updated to include a new "Protect" feature.

Wear appropriate PPE -> Protect your data with the right tools

Ok, so there are some extra steps you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Have you thought about using a password manager? We've had a great experience with 1Password over the years and it helps you keep a track of your passwords, comprised credentials and suggests when you should change your passwords because they are old or are duplicated.
  2. Have you considered turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA)? Your bank and some other companies require (like Apple) require MFA because they'll allow access to some services. We would recommend doing this in as many places as possible as it greatly reduced your exposure to hack attempts, phishing or comprismised access. A lot of online services offer this option now too which is good. Tools like 1Password can help you here.
  3. Have you checked your browser recently for rogue extensions? If you haven't, now's the time. In fact, from time-to-time some extensions expose vulnerabilities or send data to places your wouldn't expect!

Clean and Disinfect -> Operating System Updates and Virus Scanning

Operating systems and software should be updated regularly to ensure you have the latest security patches and features. So, if you've been putting off running that update for a while now, it's probably best you do it sooner rather than later. The same applies for the version of the software you're running too. For example, if your phone only runs an older version of an operating system and isn't eligible for the latest software updates. You might find that it's possible for your apps on your phone to be hacked.

The other thing that's worth doing is making sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and has been run recently on your system.

So, there you have it. It's been a month of making (and perhaps breaking) New Years resolutions but following the pointers above is sure to help you take some of the steps required to stay safe, both offline and online, during lockdown.

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