Navigating the digital world safely: Expert tips for cybersecurity

May 15, 2024
By being proactive, staying alert, and being careful, we can strengthen our online security and keep our personal information safe from cyber threats. Source: Getty Images.

In an age where the digital landscape is as much a part of our lives as the physical world, ensuring our safety in cyberspace has become paramount. With cyber threats evolving constantly, it’s essential to arm ourselves with knowledge and tools to protect against potential dangers.

To delve into the depths of cybersafety and security, we’ve sought the insights of Steven Woolston, Chief Technology Officer at Starts at 60. Woolston offers valuable advice to help navigate the digital world safely, highlighting the simple strategies people can employ to protect themselves.

Securing Devices

When it comes to protecting your devices from online threats, Woolston suggests putting in place “some kind of challenge before getting access to the device”.

“Historically it has always been a password but most laptops now allow face or fingerprint recognition,” he explains.

Woolston stresses the importance of using complex passwords, steering clear of predictable words.

“Never use dictionary words for your passwords,” he suggests.

“Attackers use dictionary algorithms to crack passwords. A good formula to use is replace S with $, I or L with 1 and hyphens or underscores for spaces.

“Always use combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.”

Moreover, Woolston advocates for the use of password managers, which not only aid in generating and storing complex passwords but also stay updated with evolving security threats. He warns against relying solely on browser password managers, highlighting their vulnerability to unauthorised access.

Dodging email scams and identity theft

As Woolston reminds us “the internet is not always a safe place”.

“There are always people trying to take advantage of others so the best strategy is being vigilant,” he adds.

Therefore it’s crucial to implement a range of measures and precautions to safeguard yourself against scammers intent on accessing your personal information.

Woolston suggests the following measures:

  • Never click links in emails – services generally do not send you emails with links in them. If you receive an email that you want to follow up on, log into the app or website for that company and verify the announcement. Or go to their website and get their phone number and call them.
  • Same with text messages – more and more attacks are coming via text so take the same approach.
  • Fraudulent emails can sometimes be very obvious but more often than not they appear genuine. If you are dubious, check the email address the email arrived from. Eg. if you received an email from Telstra, the email address should be from Be mindful that the domain should be the last part of the email address eg [email protected]. There are some clever attackers out there who use email addresses like [email protected]. It only takes a few seconds to verify but it’s worth it.”

In addition to these strategies, Woolston emphasises the importance of vigilance and selective security measures.

“Be vigilant,” he urges.

“Keeping your identity secure takes a little extra work but it’s worth it.”

Woolston also advises prioritising the security of financial systems, advocating for the use of passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) for sensitive accounts.

For other logins, he suggests employing complex passwords alongside the facial recognition capabilities of mobile devices, striking a balance between security and convenience.

In today’s digital age, it’s crucial to protect yourself from online dangers.

By being proactive, staying alert, and being careful, we can strengthen our online security and keep our personal information safe from cyber threats.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up