10 Reliable Cyber Security Tips for Businesses and Employees
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the Threat of Cybercrime.
Johan Gericke – our DataDotSA IT Manager - looks at 10 cyber security tips to help keep your business safe. The growing ability of cyber criminals to customize, hide and disguise make it very hard to spot and to distinguish between legitimate and dishonest activities. Computer and Internet Security has now become the responsibility of all of us. The tips below will help to keep yourself, your colleagues and your business safe.
- DON’T BE TRICKED INTO GIVING AWAY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
Do not respond to e-mails or phone calls requesting confidential company information — including employee information and financial results.
Beware of unauthorized persons calling you and pretending to be an employee or one of your business partners.
Double check who you are talking to and report any suspicious activity to your IT Department. Protect your personal information just as closely.
- DON’T USE AN UNPROTECTED COMPUTER
When dealing with sensitive information make sure you access it from a secure computer. Working at Internet cafés or on shared machines at home put the information you are viewing at risk.
Confirm with your IT Department that your computer has the latest approved security patches, antivirus and firewall applications. You should also work in user mode, not administrator mode, whenever possible.
Keep your personal computer safe with a Virus Removal Tool.
- DON’T LEAVE SENSITIVE INFORMATION LYING AROUND THE OFFICE
Do not leave printouts containing private information on your desk. Lock them in a drawer or shred them. Sensitive documents on your desk can be read by visitors.
Keep your desk tidy and documents locked away. It makes the office look more organized, and reduces the risk of information leaks.
- LOCK YOUR COMPUTER AND MOBILE PHONE WHEN NOT IN USE
Make sure your computer and mobile phone are locked or shutdown when you are not using them. Important documents must stay safe and secure whilst being worked on. Locked phones and computers keep your data safe from prying eyes.
- STAY ALERT AND REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
Always report any suspicious activity to your IT team. As an employee part of your job is to stop cyber-attacks and to make sure your data is not lost or stolen.
The success of a business depends on keeping information safe. In the case of something going wrong, the faster your IT Department knows about it, the faster they can deal with it.
- PASSWORD-PROTECT SENSITIVE FILES AND DEVICES
Always password-protect sensitive files on your computer or smartphone.
Lost items such as phones, USB flash drives and laptops are regular occurrences. Protection of devices with the use of strong passwords means you make it very difficult for someone to break in and steal data.
- ALWAYS USE HARD-TO-GUESS PASSWORDS
Passwords, like “mycomputer” or “dog” are obvious as are character sequences on the keyboard, like “asdfg” and “12345.” It is far more beneficial to use complex passwords that include upper and lower case, numbers, and punctuation.
Try to use different passwords for different websites and computers. Should one account get hacked, your others are not compromised.
- BE CAUTIOUS OF SUSPICIOUS EMAILS AND LINKS
DO NOT BE CURIOUS! Always delete suspicious emails and links. By opening or viewing these emails and links the security of your computer can be compromised and unwanted problems are created without your knowledge.
Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- DO NOT PLUG IN PERSONAL DEVICES WITHOUT THE OK FROM YOUR IT DEPARTMENT
Personal devices include USB flash drives, MP3 players and smartphones. These devices may have code on them waiting to launch as soon as you plug them into a computer.
Talk to your IT Department about your devices and let them make the decision.
- DON’T INSTALL UNAUTHORIZED PROGRAMS ON YOUR WORK COMPUTER
Malicious applications can be mistaken for legitimate ones such as games, tools or even antivirus software. Their aim is to fool you into infecting your computer or network.
If you like an application and think it will be useful, contact IT to look into it for you before installing.
Computers are going to be around for years to come, and that means that the threats are here to stay too.