Top 10 Tips for keeping you and your business safe from online hackers

      Our Legal Solutions Developer, Bernie Winn, has been investigating and sharing the scary realities of online hacks and has made it her job to educate our staff on online safety. We wanted to share 10 of her key safety tips with you all in this blog.

      1. Software updates - ensure your software programs (eg Microsoft Word), operating systems (eg Windows), malware and virus protection are kept up to date.  They often have security updates that prevent known system vulnerabilities.
      2. 91% of all cybercrime is initiated by emails - do not send personal information including account/credit card details, personal data eg date of birth via email.
      3. Phishing is a cybercrime where people are contacted by telephone, email or text by someone posing from a legitimate institution to lure people into providing personal data including personal information, passwords and banking/credit card details. Legitimate companies will not contact you in this way.
      4. If you receive an email detailing where to pay an account do not pay it before contacting the payee to confirm their account details. PDF documents that are attached to emails can be hacked and the account details changed. 
      5. Free wi-fi is not secure. Cybercriminals can 'eavesdrop' on public wi-fi signals. This gives them access to any information you enter on an app (eg banking app) or webpage including login details to later hijack your accounts.
      6. If the security is weak on the public wi-fi, Malware, which is software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access a computer system, can be slipped onto your computer without you knowing.  Hackers can then view work documents/emails - even email from your email account asking clients for funds.
      7. Hacking by text can prompt you with a sense of urgency to check your account details by clicking on the link in the text.  This could be a virus or could give them access to your phone.
      8. USBs can contain viruses. Run a check to confirm a USB device is safe before you plug it into your PC.  Change your computer setting so that the AutoRun feature is disabled.
      9. Backup regularly.  If your system is attacked, the quality of your backup will be vital.
      10. Never give anyone your passwords.  Consider changing your passwords to passphrases which makes it harder for the hackers to work out.

      If your money is about to go to a third party account, what would you consider before you acted? 

      If payments details are received via email have a policy to perform a 2 step verification process, the second being to call the client to confirm account details before payment.

      The safest course of action is to speak directly with the client.

      The consequences of an attack can be devastating - there is a lot at stake!

      According to 'Surviving the Rise of Cybercrime' by Craig McDonald; 

      • A single attack -  perhaps an employee falls victim to a phishing link (97% of people cannot identify a phishing email) and ransomware locks your entire system - could seriously damage your business. 
      • If bank or financial details are taken, everyday business can be disrupted. 
      • Customers might look elsewhere and your reputation will suffer. 
      • There are significant costs involved with a successful cyber attack, such as cleaning up and restoring equipment, IT systems, networks and websites. 
      • There is a risk of breaching privacy or data protection legislation too, which can lead to costly fines. 
      • Attacks can also damage other companies you are associated with, such as suppliers or business partners. 

      Never underestimate the power of the World Wide Web!

      Every home and business is a target for an attack - be aware, be vigilant. Educate family and friends so we can all help each other to stay safe online.

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