Are you staying Safe Online?
The internet has become a hugely important part of our everyday lives, both at work, at home and on the move. Such widespread use has, however increased the potential for attack, and attracted people who seek to exploit it to steal information from us and often to commit fraud or other criminal activity with the information they have obtained.
The internet is not inherently unsafe but there are significant risks involved if you are not careful around how you use the internet.
Let’s look at some of the risks associated with internet use:
- Visiting a forged website designed to capture sensitive information such as bank account or login details
- Unintentionally downloading malware onto your computer or other device by visiting a forged or compromised website
- Having your identity stolen because you have made too much information about yourself available online e.g Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc
Criminals who seek to steal sensitive information, including login accounts, may use your personal information for unwanted spam, malicious messages, online fraud, theft or even blackmail.
However the negligence of individual users online can also constitute a threat to their employer’s systems and data as well.
For an organization, the impact may include financial losses due to theft or regulatory fines or loss of reputation and therefore of market position.
For these reasons, if a corporate data breach has been caused by your negligence, you may face disciplinary action, even dismissal.
So what means can we use to Protect yourself?
The first and most obvious is to use strong passwords and do not share or write them down. This is the single most effective countermeasure against cyber criminals.
Taking then following precautions with the device you use to access the internet will also significantly reduce your Cyber Exposure:
- Install the latest security patches, anti-virus and anti-spyware updates from reputable vendors. Also ensure you have Windows Updates turned on and scheduled to run weekly.
- When using public Wi-Fi networks do not view or send sensitive information.
- Ensure your home internet connection is secure. Create a strong password to prevent others from potentially using it.
Use caution in relation to content you put on the internet:
- Limit how much personal and private information you reveal. Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram whilst individually may not seem a threat, collectively the information they may have could potentially give an attacker all the info they need to impersonate you or gain access to one of your systems.
- Carefully apply any privacy settings on sites on which you communicate. Social media sites have lots of security settings for blocking who can see certain content etc. Ensure you review these and apply the most secure settings.
- Do not post something you would only share with a very close friend. Also referred to as the ‘would I tell my mum’ test. If you wouldn’t tell your Mum or a close fried the information your about to post then don’t, its probably of a content that should stay private.
Protecting your employer too
Within this internet activity we also need to reduce the risk to your employer too, in your online activity at work (in the office or working remotely) you should:
- Follow your organization’s Information Security Policy, if you don’t know this then talk to the relevant person in your organisation to get a copy and make yourself familiar with its content.
- Immediately report any suspected data breach to your IT security team, working as an IT professional I would rather receive 10 e-mails from staff reporting potential security breaches or asking advice then 1 e-mail from an employee after they have either open a suspicious mail, or run the file that was sent to them. Always air on then side of caution.
And that’s it for now… This was a small topic to cover but important none the less. Next time I’ll be looking at Social Media in a bit more depth.
Below are some interesting articles from the world of cyber security you may find interesting, but for now… as always, stay vigilant and stay safe!
The Case for Fostering a Cybersecurity Work Culture
Twitter bans sharing photos, video of people without their consent
This New 2022 Law Will Ban Use Of Dumb Passwords In Smart Devices
Ransomware attacks on UK businesses up over 50%
Head of IT, CEME