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10 Aug 2017

10 steps to improve your cyber security and reduce your risk of human error

In April 2017, The National Cyber Security Centre reported that nearly half of UK firms have been hit by a cyber attack within the last year, so it’s not surprising that more than 50% of UK crimes are cyber related. Unfortunately, UK businesses also face increasing risks as the likelihood of cybercrime continues to grow and is now shown to be costing organisations over £11 billion per year.

Infact, human error is now found to be the most common cause for cyber security breaches.

In the 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, IBM found that 60% of all attacks were carried out by insiders.

Even when equipped with the best cyber security tools, they can only be effective when the people who use them understand the risks of human error. Here are 10 steps that you should be following in order to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a cyber security breach.

1. Don’t say “it won’t happen to me”,  it’s important to understand that you and/or the company you work for is an attractive target to hackers.

2. Have good password management. Try not to use just words and instead opt for phrases, letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts or share your password with others.

3. Don’t leave your phone, computer or smart device unlocked for any length of time, even at your desk, ensure that you lock all of your devices and never leave them unattended.

4. Backup your backups. Regularly backup your data and ensure that your antivirus software is up to date. It is good practice to also create a secondary backup in the cloud to ensure that even if your physical device was damaged, you wouldn’t lose your data.

5. Cyber criminals will frequently send malware via email disguised as a link or attachment so always be wary of opening attachments or clicking on links contained in emails that look suspicious, is unexpected or from an unknown source.

6. Ensure that any sensitive browsing that you do, such as shopping, online banking and anything that could include sensitive data, is conducted on a device which belongs to you and on a secure network that you trust.

7. Be mindful of what you are sharing on social networks. Cyber criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to an alarming amount of information that may aid them in gaining access to your more valuable data.

8. Be watchful of social engineering. This is where someone may attempt to obtain information from you through online manipulation. If anyone emails or calls you requesting sensitive information about you or anyone else, remember it is okay to say no. You can always call the company directly in order to verify the credentials of the person who called you and ensure that the request is legitimate.

9. Keep a close eye on all of your accounts and monitor them regularly for any specialist activity. Any unfamiliar posts or activity could be a sign that the integrity of your account has been compromised.

10. Be cautious about what devices you plug into your computer! Malware can spread through external devices such as hard drives, flash drives and even smartphones.

To find out more about Smoothwall’s Unified Threat Management (UTM) that provides a complete all-in-one protection package, click here to speak to one of our security specialists.

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