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Five steps to online security

Here are some easy steps you can follow to stay safe and in control of all your things online:

  1. Create long, strong and unique passwords. 
    Passphrases (random phrases of four or more words, for example coffeecountsasameal or mapsshouldbesouthsideup) make for the best passwords. They’re easy to remember but hard for attackers to crack.
  2. Turn on two-factor authentication
    2FA is a unique code sent to your phone or taken from an app that only you have access to.  You can use it to authenticate who you are every time you log in and it provides you with an extra layer of defence.  That way, even if an attacker gets your login details, they still won’t get in.
  3. Activate auto updates on apps and devices
    Updates aren’t just about getting the latest features available on apps and devices; they also protect you from any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that could let attackers in. The easiest way to do this is by going to settings and turning on automatic updates.
  4. Set your social media settings to private
    Make sure your social media privacy settings are switched over to ‘Private’ or ‘Friends only’ – this way, you can control who sees what information you share and who you’re sharing it with.
  5. Think before you click
    Be wary of opening links and attachments in text messages, emails or on social media. These can be used by attackers to get hold of your personal details, or to install malware on your device. Even if you think the text might be legitimate, it’s better to go to the organisation’s website using another method. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If you, or someone you know, experiences an online security incident, report it to CERT NZ. They’re here to help New Zealanders protect and recover from online security threats and incidents. Cyber Smart Week also marks the official public launch of CERT NZ’s new programme, Own Your Online. Find out more at

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