So here we are in 2015 and for those of us who rely on digital technology for communication, work and even plain old fun, this means one thing: Cybercrime has truly arrived in 2015 and it wants a piece of you!

Long gone are the times when only huge companies were being targeted by hackers for money and information. Your identity is something that can open hundreds of doors and many of us have all kinds of valuable credentials stored on our computers, smartphones and tablets. You see, with cyber crime on the rise, we as individuals are even more likely to be a victim in 2015 and the sooner we start to understand this and protect ourselves, the better. This article walks you through 4 surefire ways that are proven to help keep that big bad world of cyber crime away from your digital doorstep!

1. Watch Out For Phishers

Whenever you see an unusual email or even a text in your inbox, please resist the urge to open it. There is usually good reason for somebody to want to contact you via this method, and if you don’t know the sender, at least double check their identity before you go any further. Check both the identifying name, and the actual email address of the sender, as attackers will often ‘spoof’ their identity info to appear as someone you know. Phishing scams usually start with a seemingly innocent email but once you open and click on that link, it could be the start of a very expensive mistake.

2. Use All Available Tools

Most new PCs and laptops come with a free anti-virus software suite, so instead of ignoring these tools, ensure that they are up and running before you start surfing. You should also set your operating system up to receive automatic updates whether it uses Windows, Mac or Linux. These ensure that your files are always up to date and your OS isn’t being compromised. You should also check to see that your firewall is up to date and never fall into the trap of believing that your machine will run faster without one. Most smartphone operating systems have an inbuilt antivirus program and

there are plenty of free ones available if you’d prefer to read reviews and choose for yourself.

3. Surf With Caution

We all like to have a bit of fun while online, but use your common sense when it comes to looking at unknown websites. Any suspicious, spammy, or glitchy website should be avoided at all costs. This is especially true when you are making financial transactions such as online purchases or payments. If you see a lock icon on the browser status bar when making an online purchase, this is a sign that your transaction is secure and that the webpage is encrypted. No lock? No business.

4. Passwords Matter

Passwords can be a bit of a headache but PLEASE avoid choosing one that is easy to remember. Just think, if you only took a few seconds to think of it, the chances are a hacker could soon figure it out as well. Also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and never use the same ones for work and non-work related purposes. If you are sent an email asking you to log into one of your accounts, remember to take care and look at the URL first. For ultimate safety in this situation, simply navigate independently to the trusted site rather than using the link in the email. If asked for password, account, or login information, remember that most of your webmasters would never ask you for this information and you have no reason to communicate it to them!

These common sense tips should help you to stay safe online in 2015, if you need further assistance just speak to the Cybersecurity experts and you should soon be well on your way to the cyber safety zone!