Welcome to the second in our “Do we need to really need to worry?" series. This year at the BIID we are going to be addressing a few key topics and seeing if BIID members need to be concerned about them and if so what they action should they take. We started off with GDPR and we are moving on to hot topic of Cyber Security. And as far as do BIID members need to worry, well not surprising the answer is most definitely Yes!
So, what is Cyber Security? It sounds daunting but simply put it is the methods used to protect against attacks on your data that could be stored online or on hardware. It is as applicable to an individual using their computer for personal reasons as it is to a multinational corporation.
Why should you worry?
Cyber crime is a growing problem for all size businesses. While online fraud is reported to be down overall, cyber crime against businesses increased by 63% in 2017 (Office for National Statistics). With the recent introduction of GDPR it is more important than ever to be vigilant.
What Can You Do?
For large companies a Cyber Security strategy often involves substantial financial investment and complex action plans. Smaller companies and sole traders can sometimes be overwhelmed and inclined to ignore the problem, making them ideal targets for cyber criminals. You might have seen our recent warning regarding fraudulent emails due to an incident involving a BIID member – we have been informed that many other members have been targeted.
The BIID do our best to support our members and there are some surprisingly easy and low cost things actions you can take that can make all the difference in keeping secure.
Be Aware of Phishing
Phishing is when cyber criminals attempt to obtain sensitive data. This can be through elaborate emails, calls or texts often claiming to be from reputable companies. Stay vigilant.
1. Look at email addresses – fraudsters often make slight deviations to the name or company to try and fool recipients.
2. Think carefully about what information you are being asked for - banks will not ask for sensitive information when they contact you. You can always call your bank or other provider to check information.
3. Never make unexpected payments as a result of unexpected contact.
4. If you have any reservations or doubts about something, investigate further.
Create Strong Passwords
People massively underestimate the importance of a strong password - it provides hackers with the perfect opportunity to commit cybercrime. In an ideal world use a password generator but if not, a pass phrase is much stronger than a word and just as easy to remember. Your child’s name and year of birth, the year you were married, or the name of your dog can often be found online so try to avoid them.
Don’t store sensitive information on laptops or phones that are not suitably encrypted or protected. Sensitive information can be anything from your credit card details to your date of birth and your mother's maiden name. Again, strong passwords will help with this.
Managing software can be crucial in cyber security. The following guidance will help:
1. Keep software updated, new versions often include additional security offering you greater protection.
2. Install anti-malware software on your laptop and devices - some off the shelf options offer excellent protection and are very affordable.
Only download software from reputable software
providers and check their security policies before proceeding.
Beware of Links
Never click on any links unless you know and trust the sender. This can infect your whole system with a virus. To protect yourself, regularly back up your files to ensure your business would not suffer catastrophically in the eventuality of a virus.
Ultimately protecting yourself from cyber security is about awareness. Take the time to read new articles and to implement the methods mentioned. There are a large number of online resources and blogs that will help you to protect your business.
Get Safe Online is an excellent one stop shop for advice to keep your data and business safe.