The modern world is all about technology, and unlike 20 years ago, a huge amount of our lives are spent online. That’s why October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It’s a time when us industry professionals can get together and share our knowledge of cyber security, and how you can stay safer online. More hackers are active today than every before, and new viruses are being launched into the world every day, all with the aim of stealing your data. From our perspective, you should treat your cyber security the same way to treat your home security – as you could lose just as much if either is compromised.
The first thing you check when you are buying a new house is how well built it is. If the house is crumbling at the edges and sloping sideways, you are likely to think it’s unsecure and buy another house. Your online security is the same. When setting up any profile online, make sure you are creating secure passwords (check our previous blog for tips on how to create one) and not revealing too much information. Make sure your computer has antivirus and security software installed, and that it is on and operational at all times. This software will act as the walls to your home, and your passwords are the windows and doors that keep it locked and safe. To add extra protection, invest in a backup solution (cloud based solutions are usually the easiest to use, and the most accessible) to act as the roof and prevent any data from being lost in a storm.
Most people will have some form of security software and antivirus installed on their computers. In fact, the majority of new computers sold today have this software pre installed, so all you have to do is keep it up to date. This is the essential part a lot of people forget. Security patches are brought out regularly to keep your systems safe (see our blog ‘Why Security Patching Is More Than Just A Bandage’) and patch any problems that have been discovered with the software. For example, when Apple found out that the swipe camera function on the lock screen could be used to bypass the password system, they brought out patches to solve this. It’s similar to patching holes in your roof to make sure the rain doesn’t get in.
If a stranger came up to your door and asked for a file full of your sensitive, personal information, would you give it to him? Or course not, so why would you give them access to it online? The problem with the Internet is that it’s almost impossible to remove something from it, so you should be careful what you put out there. Not only can your friends, family and future employers all see what goes on online, but predators and hackers can too. In recent months we have seen reports of predators watching the Facebook accounts of parents to find out about their children, and online hackers creating databases of freely given information in order to steal people’s identity. Every piece of personal information you give could be used in a malicious way, so make sure you aren’t putting any sensitive information online.
The threat of cyber attacks has always been present, but in todays modern world it has never been easier for a criminal to gain access and root around in your affairs. The most important thing about cyber security is vigilance, and making sure you are aware of what you are posting and how it could be interpreted. That’s not to say you should never post anything online, but it is always worth remembering that your digital presence is like your home, and you should protect it like you would protect your home. For information or advice on how to make your online presence more secure, get in touch today for a free consultation.