Top five cyber security tips for the festive period

OGL Computer / CyberGuard Technologies

With the festive holidays fast approaching, so do the celebrations and anticipation of gifts under the tree.

However, for cyber-criminals, ‘tis the season for exploitation and with many consumers and businesses excited for the holidays, it’s easy to let your guard down.

With so many targeted cyber-crimes over the holidays the key advice is to stay vigilant!

Here are our top five tips on how to stay safe over the festive period:

Tip 1: Clicking without thinking is reckless

It’s easier said than done, and we understand just how difficult it is to stay alert when you receive a fun Christmas e-card or even an electronic gift voucher.

However, it’s critical that you always check your emails twice and make sure that it is genuinely from the person you think it is. Cyber-criminals are all too aware that the festive season is a prime time of year to catch out unexpected individuals.

Remember, just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should, and if possible hover over the links before you click to check where it is taking you.

If it looks suspicious, then it most likely is and could contain malicious links that could cause significant damage to your IT systems.

Tip 2: Always use strong passwords

We all know that strong passwords are annoying and potentially easy to forget, however the risks associated with being hacked far outweigh the pain it takes to remember/enter them.

We managed to crack 6,634,204,312,890,625 passwords in two and half days, highlighting just how easy it is to crack a password. The key is to use a password which contains a minimum of 12 characters that include numbers, symbols, capital letters mixed with lower-case letters! Take a look at our blog on how to create strong passwords here.

Tip 3: Make sure you’re using the latest, updated software

With employees slowly winding down for the holidays, it’s easy to forget to update your systems with the latest software.

However, it’s critical that you always maintain the latest versions of your operating systems, as using an outdated version can lead to security risks. Cyber-criminals can spot open vulnerabilities, in fact, with your devices updated and patched you are less likely to be affected by a cyber-attack, as around 70% of cyber-attacks exploit known vulnerabilities.

An updated or patched server or PC is less susceptible to malware and other viruses, so it’s key to have a patch management strategy in place, so your devices are always updated, stable and secure.

Tip 4: When working remotely only use public wi-fi if it’s safe to do so

Cloud computing is great for many reasons; flexibility, accessibility, minimising cost of IT hardware, to name a few.

We also understand that free public wi-fi is a great way to entice you into a nice warm coffee house, while you send your last few emails or complete your last assignments for the day.

Who wouldn’t want to do to that while eating a freshly made mince pie?

However, always be vigilant when using public wi-fi networks, as it is a haven for potential cyber-crime and a prime spot for phishing attacks and sensitive information can be easily captured for malicious purposes.

When using public wi-fi always try to avoid making bank transactions or accessing and sending sensitive data.

Tip 5: Back up your data

It sounds an obvious tip to suggest, however with so many businesses thinking a cyber-attack “won’t happen to me”, it’s naïve to think backing up your data is a pointless exercise.

Cyber-attacks are on the increase and a recent report by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Barclay’s revealed that 56% of businesses wouldn’t be able to survive a cyber-attack.

Can you afford not to back up your data? Having a good disaster recovery and backup strategy is strongly recommended to help your business potentially survive a cyber-attack.

Get in contact with us… If you want to know more about how you can harden the security defences around your IT systems, talk to our team of consultants who will identify the right solution for you!

We have a wealth of knowledge and experience and have worked with numerous industries to help prevent cyber-crime.

If you want to take advantage of our festive offer of a free cyber assessment click here. Alternatively, if you would like to talk to one of our Security Consultants, contact us here and we’ll be happy to give you a call.