8 tips for SMEs to avoid being hacked

1. Use a separate computer for all financial transactions 

Never use this computer for web browsing or social media.

2. Replace Windows XP now

Microsoft will stop supporting this operating system in April, meaning any bugs found from that point will NEVER be fixed. We are anticipating a huge number of attacks to hit from April onwards.

3. Install software updates as they become available

The update the manufacturer sends out is to patch a problem, which sometimes resolve security vulnerabilities. Until it is patched, you are vulnerable to attack.

4. Use up to date antivirus software

The latest antivirus software will detect all known threats and guard against unknown threats.

5. Protect mobile phones and tablets too

There is little point protecting your computer network if the mobile devices which also link into it are not protected.

6. Accept that devices will get lost and stolen

Prepare for this by ensuring you can locate, lock and wipe your devices remotely.

7. Use a VPN to avoid laptops and mobile devices being hacked when out of the office

It is simple to hack devices using free WiFi or WiFi hotspots. Using a VPN will encrypt all your traffic, making them safe to use.

8. Back-up and sychronise

Ransomware is on the increase. It encrypts your data and holds it to ransom. If you have fully sychronised back-ups in place, your data won’t be held hostage if you get caught out.

Bunmi Sowande is technical consultant at F-Secure.

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