Are you savvy about your Cyber Security?

31st October 2019

As technology has become a fundamental part of modern day life, it’s hard to imagine a day without access to our bank account or emails from our smartphone. But while the Internet of Things – where all of our devices are interconnected via the cloud – offers an abundance of opportunity, it can also leave you vulnerable to the threat of a cyber attack.

Hacker

The tactics that cyber criminals use are constantly evolving and are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so it’s more important than ever to protect your information, and your organisation, from attack. A prime example of a current cyber threat isPhishing’, where cyber criminals bait you to provide sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company. Criminals will send an email, often a near exact copy to a legitimate email, and will include a link to a cleverly constructed fake webpage. However, the information you provide on this site goes straight to the criminals.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so we’ve put together some top tips to help you stay secure.

Be smart about your passwords

It’ll come as no surprise that ‘Password1’ just doesn’t cut it. Hackers are smart, but robots are even smarter. With the help of technology, cyber criminals can trawl through thousands of password combinations in minutes. Best practice suggests that passwords should either be three random words that wouldn’t usually be used together or using a combination of at least ten alphanumeric characters and symbols.

Similarly, having the same password for multiple accounts is just as dangerous as a breach could affect multiple accounts in a short space of time. Thankfully, you don’t need to remember multiple passwords. Apps such as KeyPass securely store all your passwords and other important information in one place. There’s really no excuse for a weak password!

Rule of thumb: treat your passwords like your bank details – you wouldn’t give your bank details to someone over the internet so don’t enter your password unless you are sure it’s legitimate!

Enable Two Factor Authentication

Even the longest and most complex of passwords can be compromised. We strongly recommend that you enable Two Factor Authentication (TFA) where possible as it offers an extra layer of security. By having two hurdles to jump before gaining access, TFA significantly decreases the risk of cyber criminals accessing your information, even if they do figure out the correct password. Some of the accounting software we use offers TFA, including Xero and Iris Openspace, but most email and cloud file storage systems do as well.

Don’t ignore that software update

We’re all guilty of it - we see the ‘Software Update’ notification pop up on our device and click ‘Remind Me Later’. While they can seem like an inconvenience at the time, having the most up to date software could shield you from cyber threats. Software updates are used to ‘patch’ areas of software that are vulnerable and can be an easy route into your system for cyber criminals, so make sure you update your software regularly.

Invest in training and raise awareness amongst your staff

No matter how vigilant you are in ensuring your firewalls are strong and your software is up to date, human error will always be the biggest threat to your security. Staff are likely to be prime targets in your organisation as they will handle data on a daily basis. Training is vital to ensure staff can spot the traits of cyber scams, so encourage staff to look out for unusual or unexpected email addresses and links. If hyperlinks are added to an email, ensure staff know to hover over them before clicking to confirm it’s going to a webpage you would expect.