How to keep yourself safe from cyber crooks

South Africans are sharing too much personal information on social media‚ allowing cyber criminals to exploit them for their personal gain‚ experts say.

Cyber security experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have urged the public to be mindful of what they post on social media and to carefully check the permission lists when they download applications (apps).

“Allowing apps more access on your phone than required could lead to security risks and expose your personal information. Other apps require access to your exact location‚ revealing details such as your house number‚ workplace and email account details. Other people still post pictures of their vehicles with a number plate clearly visible for the world to see‚ making it easier for criminals to clone the registration number‚” the CSIR said.

CSIR researchers on Monday made a presentation on their research in social mining data‚ network vulnerability‚ data science for public safety and cyber security awareness. The researchers advise the public to be vigilant when sharing information on social media.

CSIR cyber security researcher Thulani Mashiane said South Africans should stay away from installing suspicious applications and should only download applications from original or reputable websites or applications stores‚ such Play Store and App Store.

“Don’t over share‚ think before you click. Personal information can be used to answer security questions for certain accounts‚ identity theft‚ direct marketing and by stalkers‚” she said.

Cyber criminals are also targeting children through games‚ said Mashiane‚ urging parents to check every game the kids are playing.

Researcher Muyowa Mutemwa warned South Africans on using public and open networks for banking transactions.

“Cyber criminals love public open networks such as internet cafe networks‚ coffee shop Wi-Fi and conference Wi-Fi. Use secure network for banking‚ no banking or social networking on public Wi-Fi‚” he said.