As an SME business owner, it’s important to stay alert about cybersecurity, especially over the Christmas break, when there is an increase in online ordering and parcel deliveries. Here are our top 10 tips to help your business stay cyber safe this Christmas:
1. Strong, Unique Passwords
Using strong, unique passwords can help prevent unauthorised access. Avoid using easily guessable passwords, such as “123456″, “password,” your companies name or your pets name. Think about using a password manager to help you generate and store strong, unique passwords that have alpha numeric letters and numbers with a capital letter and special characters like !*&%
2. Two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. The Google Authenticator App is an ideal program for this function. Available for Android and Apple
3. Software Updates
Keep the software on your PC, Mobile and Website up to date. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and devices. To protect your business, make sure to keep all your software and devices up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
A firewall is a security system that controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Using a firewall can help protect your business’s network and devices from cyber threats.
5. Antivirus software
Antivirus software helps protect your devices and network from malware, such as viruses, trojans, and worms. Make sure to use antivirus software on all your business’s devices and keep it up to date.
Emails can be the most vulnerable point for a business. Be cautious when opening emails and attachments. Cybercriminals often use emails and attachments to deliver malware to their targets. Be cautious when opening emails and attachments, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. Here are some of our tips when receiving suspicious emails.
- Verify the sender
Make sure to verify the sender of an email before opening it or its attachments. Check the exact email address. Cybercriminals often use fake email addresses or spoof legitimate ones to try and trick you into opening their emails.
- Unfamiliar emails
If you receive an email from someone you don’t know or an unfamiliar email address, be cautious about opening it. It could be a phishing attempt or other type of cyber attack. Always check the website first.
- Watch out for red flags.
Look out for red flags in emails, such as urgent or threatening language, requests for personal information, or links to unfamiliar websites. These could be signs of a phishing attack.
- Think before you click.
Don’t click on links or download attachments from unfamiliar sources. Cybercriminals often use links and attachments to deliver malware. Don’t click on links or download attachments from unfamiliar sources, and be especially cautious about links and attachments in unsolicited emails.
- Be Aware
Use caution with emails from unfamiliar companies. If you receive an email from an unfamiliar company, do some research before opening it or its attachments. Make sure the company is legitimate and not a front for a cybercriminal. Check the website for clarification.
7. Secure networks
Always use a secure network when accessing the internet from public networks, use a virtual private network (VPN) to help protect your data from being intercepted.
It’s important to educate your employees in cyber security. Your employees can be your first line of defence against cyber threats. Make sure to educate them about cybersecurity best practices, such as using strong passwords and being cautious when opening emails and attachments.
9. CEO Email Scam
This is an email that is sent to employees from what looks like their line manager, director or CEO. This email has the correct name but wrong email address. The instructions in the email usually are of an urgent matter and the first step involves the employee replying to the email with their personal mobile number or WhatsApp number. Then over text messages the employee is asked to purchase gift cards in various amounts, with the promise the employee will be refunded. Then the employee is asked to send photos of the gift cards including the barcode and gift card value over text message. Education for employees of this scam is vital and a business standard operating practice that this type of instructions will never be given to employees at any time is a necessary step to ensure this type of scam never occurs.
Regularly backing up your data can help protect your business in the event of a cyber attack or other disaster. Make sure to store your backups in a secure location, such as an external hard drive or cloud-based storage service.
With these tips, you can help protect your business from cyber threats but unfortunately nothing is 100% effective. Usually an action by a user has to be taken to start the virus, so think before you click on that link, download that file or reply to that email.