5 Golden Rules To Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks
by Maria Alonso
Cyber attacks hit the headlines on a daily basis and they are not only a threat to large corporations like governments and banks, but also to small businesses and individuals. So what can we do to protect ourselves from this risk and eliminate unwanted access into our computers? Here are five tips that can help you protect against cyber attacks.
1. Wise words
It’s a basic concept, but it is amazing how many people still use simple passwords and/or use the same password across all accounts. So wise up and strengthen your password. The best way is never to use a word that is related to you. Choose a random word and intersperse it with numbers, symbols, as well as lower and uppercase letters. And finally never share a password with any one.
2. Stranger danger
As kids we were always told never talk to strangers, so why are we now so blasé when opening emails from senders we don’t recognise? Malicious emails are termed as phishing scams and can lure you into a false sense of security. They invite you to open up links and files that can quickly infect and corrupt your computer systems and even spread across to other users. There are some simple ways to identify these unwelcome guests.
- Don’t open it if it is from a company or person you don’t know and especially if they don’t address you by name.
- If it looks crazy, it probably is. Sometimes the language of an email gives away tell-tale signs and if you hover your mouse over any links embedded in the email and a long and complicated or confusing URL is displayed, such as ones with lots of ‘X’s, then it is probably a phishing email.
- If an email says it is urgent or displays an alert and requires immediate attention, be warned. These emails play on your psyche and trick you into opening an email. So delete emails that, for example, say you owe money, have won money or that your bank needs your access code because of a discrepancy.
- Do not download ZIP files and attachments or click through to links, unless you know they are from a trusted party and you have carried out the appropriate checks.
3. Keeping up to date
Make sure that you keep all your operating systems up to date. Updates from the main platforms such as Microsoft, Mac and Linux are regularly published and not only improve functionality but will provide the latest security developments.
4. Get yourself certified
SSL Certificates are a secure way of protecting your data, as well as an organisation’s identify and location. These are small data files that create a chain and activate a lock and an http protocol that enables secure connections from a web server to a web browser. It’s simple to install SSL certificates on your server and also easy to identify secure sites, because when a certificate has been installed the application protocol will change from HTTP to HTTPs. The browser on the internet will also show a padlock or a green bar is an SSL Certificate has been adopted.
5. Isolation should not be a violation
With more and more people working in isolation and accessing data on the move, the risk of infection increases. So you need to use secure and reputable remote desktop software. Check the providers’ technical abilities and ensure they include security measures such as permanent encryption. These should be based on a standard protocol, such as TLS - which is used by online banks, and enforces authentication procedures that deter access from third parties.