We’re fast approaching the spine-chilling evening of Hallowe’en, and the last thing you and your devices need is an unexpected cyber scare.
From the insidious threat of a phishing attack to ghastly hackers operating in the shadows, here’s how to treat your devices to a trick-free Hallowe’en.
With October being Europe’s official Cyber Security Awareness Month, what better time to revise those business cyber security techniques? Anyone who’s read our blog before knows we’ve shared these same tips regularly in the past; but it’s easy to forget even the basic rules of personal Cyber Security.
Phishing for Treats
Following the warnings of ITGovernance earlier this month, we’ll start with our most commonly mentioned (yet most regularly forgotten) dangers: phishing emails. These less-than-reputable messages reach their victim, typically promising all manner of treats; yet there’s little more than tricks in store when these emails steal credentials, infect your computer and eventually hold your data hostage via ransomware infections.
As new technologies have been released and phishing awareness has grown, so too have the phishers own dirty tactics. It’s unlikely they’ll ever fall from prominence. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t spot one as it emerges from the internet’s darkest corners. Watch out for spelling mistakes – these scams are often translated from overseas schemes and carry several tell-tale errors within the text. Phishing emails will regularly send you to dodgy, malware-infected links, so double check the link before you go clicking ahead. Do you recognise the site address? Is it a reputable site? Remember, phishers aren’t stupid – they’ll regularly set up websites that look identical to their real-life counterparts to catch you off-guard. They’ll pull similar tricks with the sender address, so make sure the email addresses the emails are coming from belong to a reputable vendor.
As we approach Black Friday, phishing emails will reliably be on the rise, tricking hapless victims into promise of great deals and fantastic savings, so be sure to learn the difference between the true treats and the treacherous tricks.
Don’t fall behind on your updates, either. Not only could updates to your email client alert you to recognised phishing threats, but updates across all systems are vital for keeping devices and data protected. This goes for your everyday applications such as your Office software. They may seem benign, but they’re frequently used as attack vectors for hackers. Updates are more than just new quality-of-life features for applications - they’re part of your crucial defences.
Ghosts in the Machine
For those of you still working from home, it might be time to review your password security. Home Wi-Fi routers are frequently targeted via their admin passwords, which are usually set to a default username and password by your internet provider. Infiltrators know this and, with so many of us now working from home, are now more likely to attempt intrusions using these common and well-known credentials. Change your router’s admin password to something more personal, and protect both your home and your workplace. A few good tips are to have a combination of upper and lower case letters in your password, as well as numbers, symbols and a phrase only you would know.
And to sign off, here’s on last piece of advice: consider your IT support desk. Keeping productivity rates up during times of increased remote working is a challenge, not least when it affects both you and your clients. If you’ve found an issue with your device, and logged a ticket with your internal department, they’ll most often advise you to restart your device. Save the overworked souls some time; always try a simple restart of your device if things go South, it could fix your issue without having to delay the process. If that doesn’t fix the issue, then it might be time to contact your IT department or provider – other than to commend their hard work, perhaps!
With that, we’d like to wish our readers and clients a Happy Hallowe’en. Stay safe out there, folks.
For more Cyber Security advice, why not read our Threat Thursday blogs, here?
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