There’s a lot of conversation around cybersecurity nowadays. Whether it’s a big cyber attack or the ethical conversation surrounding “big data” and targeted advertising, the online space is increasingly saturated with information on how to not be caught out in the next big breach or attack.
The truth is that most of us cover the basics day to day, but the bad guys know a few key vulnerabilities that they can exploit in order to get hold of your precious data and accounts. The aim of this post is to both educate and inform you on how you can be better protected with, hopefully, some information you can take away and use today!
Seems real basic right? Anti-malware/virus software has been around since the early 90s and most of us have encountered it at some point or another, but you would be shocked at how many people are not using it! There is no substitute for a proper and well-equipped anti-malware program. We personally partner with and recommend ESET for its proven track record and reliability, but there’s a lot of options out there on the market to protect you and your business.
With more attacks being made public each day this is a real no-brainer. Get some anti-malware and that includes you Mac users! The urban myth that “Macs can’t get viruses” is just that, a myth. Set a scheduled scan and let it run in the background, whilst also keeping software up to date regularly, so you can sleep easy knowing you’re protected.
Emails links… if you didn’t expect it, don’t open it
Phishing and Spoofing emails have become rife in modern day, and with the huge amount of emails circulating around we unfortunately see a few of our customers falling victim to phishing attacks every year. This type of attack is the bane of any IT companies’ existence as it’s not something we can prevent without causing major disruption consistently throughout a workday.
If you get an email even from someone you know in real life, asking for any form of money, or to click on a link or anything out of the ordinary, close that email! Call the person and confirm they sent it to you and if they did not, delete it. Give yourself a big pat on the back, you’ve avoided something millions of people don’t.
Using a VPN
The use of a VPN can seem like something of a dark art to the uninitiated. VPN stands for virtual private network, but you can forget all the tech jargon and think of it this way…
Imagine every piece of data you send across the internet is a little bunny rabbit. That rabbit runs across a completely open field every time you do anything on the internet. In that field are lots of angry farmers waiting to see if they can catch the rabbit and take it home to exploit all the information out of it that they possibly can.
Now imagine you’re doing something that uses the internet and that rabbit, and instead of travelling across that open field, it travels in a tunnel many metres underground. In Additional, any entry point to the tunnel is a tank ready to remove any potential farmer threat that may appear.
The latter is like using a VPN. A VPN gives you and your businesses data protection and encryption so nobody can see that information if they try to get hold of it. Our partners Nord VPN offer military grade encryption (the tanks I was talking about) so you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your data and information is hidden from any prying eyes. We are currently offering Nord 10% under retail… it’s a win, win. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01603 867 103 for more information.
Update update update!
Alongside the all important “ethical hackers” finding loopholes in our operating systems, websites and software every day in order to get them patched and secured, there are some “not so ethical hackers”. It really is a constant chase between an exploit being found and a company patching it, so always be sure to keep your software, apps, and operating system up to date on the latest version. In the past and even to this day a lot of the big ransomeware attacks can be completely avoided by keeping an operating system up to date and the goes for vulnerabilities in software and apps too!
2 Factor Authentication, or Multifactor Authentication, makes it impossible for anyone that does not have that second device needed to authenticate to be able to log into a service or account. A lot of websites and services provide this these days and it’s simple to setup, however I won’t go into too much detail here as each setup process is slightly different. Usually the second part of authentication is your mobile phone or a landline, but please check with the service you would like to apply it from as each has its own set of rules and limitations. We have seen this save people from hacking attempts on multiple occasions.
The weakest link in your accounts, devices and personal data is unfortunately YOU. Because we all know our passwords off by heart and, lets be honest, there are many of you who use similar or combinations of the same passwords for many different accounts, we’re making the job of the hackers 10x easier. By eliminating the need to know your own password and leaving it up to a password manager to store and secure your passwords you quite literally cannot be exploited for this information. It also means that your passwords and sensitive notes are encrypted and secure inside a piece of software instead of jotted down in a black book of passwords, or a password protected Excel sheet which in some cases is even worse.
We partner with Last Pass to be able to give you a great deal on a password manager but as with everything on this list there are many different choices in the space. We feel Last Pass give the most well-rounded experience which is why we put our trust in them.
There are many things you can do to improve your cybersecurity and a lot of that information is contained within this blog post. Even better, quite a lot of it won’t cost you anything and the bits that do cost are offset by the benefit of investing in them.
So hopefully you go away today and have some more techniques to bolster up your security arsenal so you’re the one with a coy smile when the next cyber attack hits, rather than the person contacting your customers to make them aware of an “unavoidable data breach”.