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Cyber crime is on the rise and the vast majority of businesses are failing to stay secure, often relying on infrastructure and ignoring the need to have an effective cyber awareness culture. That’s why we have put together a few helpful tips to help protect yourself.
Everyone is a target
One thing we are all guilty of saying is “It won’t happen to me”. But we are all at risk, and the dangers of cybercrime to your business and personal financial well-being are very real.
It is essential for everyone to presume they are a target for cybercriminals and to not ignore the increasing threat. Raising cyber awareness in your organisation is the best way to protect yourself.
Are you still running old software? Installing updates for your operating systems and programmes is critical. By not doing so, you are putting yourself at risk of being exploited by cyber criminals as the vulnerabilities in old software allow a weak entry-point which fraudsters can exploit.
Don’t talk to strangers
Social engineering is quickly becoming a huge threat to businesses and most don’t understand how to protect themselves. Always be wary of what you openly give away on social media and online, a cyber criminal could manipulate this information and could use it as a gateway for a phishing attack.
It is also important to remember not to give away personal information such as your login ID and password, banking or credit card information through phone calls and email – a genuine email would never ask for this type of information.
Use strong passwords
Using the same password for every account is something a lot of us do, but we don’t think about the risk. One tip is to use long passwords and include capital letters and special characters – using a different one for each login. It is also vital not to write down passwords where they can be seen by others and to update them every 6 months for security.
Be aware of malware
Unless it is absolutely necessary, but we still wouldn’t advise it. Avoid downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware, which will comprise your computer without your knowledge. Make sure that this awareness is spread throughout your business and that employees are not using work devices for downloads.
Protect your assets
Cyber crime isn’t always an online risk, physical security is just as important as technical security when it comes to laptops, phones and other devices. If you need to leave your device for any length of time, make sure it is stored somewhere safe and secure – preferably under lock and key.
Handle sensitive data with care
Keep any data stored on your device to an absolute minimum. Instead, store sensitive data on a secure network and also make sure to use an encryption when transmitting data to avoid being a victim of a man-in-the-middle cyber-attack.
In the modern business environment, many of us use our mobile phones for work, yet we fail to follow the same security protocol as other devices?
Your mobile device should be every bit as secure as your laptop or desktop computer. Always lock your mobile with a PIN/password or fingerprint ID, keep your operating systems updated at all times and keep personal information and sensitive data stored on your device to a minimum.
When choosing an anti-virus program, make sure that it is from a known and trusted source, keeping virus definitions, engines and software updated to ensure your anti-virus remains effective.
Also, remember to run your anti-virus on a regular basis and not to ignore any security issues that get flagged up.
Data: Back it up
So your cyber security culture is all in order, but there is one thing you forgot – back up your data! A cyber breach can’t always be stopped so make sure your data is backed up regularly. Should you fall victim to an attack, the only way to fix the problem is to erase your device.
This list is by no means comprehensive and cyber awareness training is key to ensure that your business is as secure as possible. The Cyber Stars Initiative is the only cyber security awareness programme with an official UK Government regulated qualification attached. The programme, therefore, provides both a solid metric for measuring cyber security awareness understanding and provides an excellent professional development opportunity for employees.