Operating on a secure networkThere are some basic cyber security precautions that any business should be aware of to protect data, such as installing anti-virus software and keeping all software patched and up to date. One thing that might not spring to mind immediately though is protecting your broadband. Other people “piggybacking” on your bandwidth is bad. Depending on your plan, it can increase your monthly costs while actually slowing down your internet connection and, worst of all, it puts your data at risk. To counter this, you should always ensure you set a password on your router. Believe it or not, the default usernames and passwords that come with wireless routers are all made available to the public – it’s possible to get a list of all the default passwords for all manufacturers’ routers with a simple Google search. Where possible, choose WPA2 in the wireless security settings on your router. This is the most secure setting, but may not be available on older hardware. In addition, all wireless devices have what is known as a MAC address, and you can set your router to only allow access to the network for authorised addresses. However, this isn’t fool-proof as MAC addresses can be faked. According to Rab, businesses should implement updated security technology and make investments in encryption technology that is proportionate to the risks the business faces. “For example, businesses handling sensitive customer data such as payments data will want to spend more money and time on enhanced protection,” she said. Barrett is always careful to make sure that sensitive information is exclusively shared via encrypted services. “Payment information, if ever given over the phone, is treated in line with PCI regulation whereby no information is written down but exclusively input directly into the payment portal with no information repeated over the phone back to the person, only acknowledged with ‘Yes’,” she said. “There are plenty of communication lines that I will not use to share sensitive personal information. Video conferencing, via cloud services or similar, will not be used as I do not consider them as safe enough at this time. I trust that developments continue to drive security forward.”
How to prevent cyber attacks when using WiFi on the goIt’s common practice these days to work on the go – there’s access to WiFi in airports, coffee shops, on trains, why wouldn’t you? While this is great and makes flexible working much more attainable for many businesses, you should always be aware what networks you are working on. Using WiFi on the go for research purposes is all well and good, but if it’s something sensitive that you wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands, such as, any banking transactions, try to wait until you have a secure connection you can trust. Always make sure to use HTTPS rather than HTTP when searching for a website as this means the data passed back and forth is encrypted. Never type in any sensitive information with an HTTP connection. When employees work on the go, they will often use their own devices, which introduces a whole new set of problems. Have they ensured they are patched and up to date on their own devices? Have they installed a firewall? The cyber security risks of bringing your own device are unavoidable for 45 per cent of businesses, which are aware of employees using their own kit for business related activities.
Cyber attacks: It’s a people problemMalicious attacks for the most part are only successful when an employee does something they shouldn’t have done – whether that’s operating on an unsecure network, disclosing a password, or clicking the wrong link in a dodgy email. This is why a business approach to cyber security should be organisation-wide, the responsibility to protect data doesn’t begin and end with the IT department. It is increasingly necessary to ensure your staff are aware of cyber threats, and how cyber criminals seek to invade your business. Once they know the red flags to look out for, your defence will be much stronger. It is impossible to ever be 100 per cent protected against all cyber attacks, and cyber insurance may be worth considering – depending on your business. Make sure you have an incident plan, and proceed with caution.
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