With talks of firewalls and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), cyber security can seem like a bit of a minefield for business owners.
Whilst these are all things that the digital experts here at San-iT recommend you use, you can leave the implementation and maintenance of these security solutions with us as part of our cyber security services package. There are multiple smaller things you can do to increase digital security yourself, too, so you can be sure you’re protected at every level.
The Perfect Password
Password cracking is one of the most popular techniques used by hackers to access your personal files and data. Computer programmers can create programs based on algorithms designed to guess passwords in minutes. Password cracking programs work by trying to login with every possible combination of words, numbers, and symbols. The more complex your password, the harder it is to hack.
We recommend using passwords that contain a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. A long password is harder to crack than a short password, and passwords that contain easily guessed terms such as pet/family names, birth dates, and phone numbers, are easy targets. Believe it or not, the number one most used (and most hacked) password in the world is “password”.
One common misconception is that frequently changing your passwords will increase security, but research has found that forcing users to update their passwords on a regular basis can lead them to use more easily guessable passwords. Instead, encourage users to memorise a very complex password that they can use long-term.
Beware the Phishing Scam!
Phishing scams are defined at fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details via email. Phishing scammers work by sending emails from accounts disguised as trusted users. For example, a phishing scammer may disguise themselves as a member of HM Revenue and Customs and request sensitive information in order to facilitate a fabricated tax return.
Our advice? Only open attachments that you’re expecting, even if they seem to have come from someone you know personally. Double check email addresses as opposed to sender display names. A fake email may display as “HM Revenue & Customs” as the sender, but the actual email address may be identifiable as a scam if it reads suspiciously (“[email protected]” or something similar). If you’re not sure, a quick Google search of the email address may help you identify it as a scam if other people have reported it online.
If you’re still not sure, use another official medium to contact the sender (such as a phone number from an official website, as opposed to a number in the sender’s email signature) and verify the legitimacy of the attachment, or forward the email onto San-it for an in depth analysis.
Use Two-Factor Authentication on Everything
Two-factor authentication (also known as “2FA”) is an easy way of vastly increasing the security of your accounts and it is something that is becoming increasingly common. Two-factor authentication uses both a password and another means of authenticating your account such as sending a code via SMS or email.
Many of the accounts you use will already offer two-factor authentication and we recommend using this for both personal passwords (such as social media accounts) and professional passwords (such as email accounts and accounts for work-related tools and applications). Using two-factor authentication means that even if someone gets a hold of your password, they will still need the additional authentication you received by SMS or email to access your account.
Security is the single most important thing for your business, make sure your cyber security doesn’t fall short. Contact us and take advantage of our digital security expertise to make sure sensitive data never falls into the wrong hands.