Spring has sprung, we love this time of year. The evenings are longer, the flowers and wildlife are all coming to life, and summer won’t be long.
AGT attended a Cyber Security Conference last week. We take our personal online activity very seriously and especially our business online security. We store personal details of tenants and landlords and our one of two main priorities is to keep them safe and secure. With the other main priority working hard for our clients.
So we welcomed the opportunity to be able to attend the event, which was presented by the DSM Group.
The topics covered were how to prevent a Cyber Attack, the Data Protection Act 2018, which sits alongside GDPR. Cambridgeshire Police then talked about how serious they are about Cyber Security and all the great work they do, then we heard about how email is the most used form of Cyber Attacks – 91% of Cyber Attacks come via email. Finished off with a presentation from Kaspersky about how the vulnerabilities within systems that can lead to your personal and corporate data being compromised.
We took Cyber Security very seriously anyway, but we did learn a lot more about it and how to take further measures to prevent it.
So email being the main threat, never open an email attachment or reply to a email which you don’t trust. They can look so real it is hard to tell sometimes. On a personal level we receive phishing emails from what look like HMRC, Apple, even our bank. On a smart phone it can look even more real as it just shows the name, but you can normally tell from the actual email address. Some are even just a character different to a legitimate email address. Remember, banks will never ask you to provide your details to them via email and if one looks like it’s from HMRC informing you that you’re entitled to a tax rebate, it’s a scam.
Easy passwords are a easy way for hackers to clone you, so they can take out loans etc in your name. The recommendation is three random words, for instance, wall, door and window, with at least 2 digits and a punctuation mark. Never use the same password for different logins. It is hard because how can we remember them all, and if we write them down, how can we keep them safe. It is recommended to keep passwords written down in a locked, secure box.
Updating your software and apps when they are needed is very important. Not only does it make them run faster and give any new features which have been added, it is also very important for software security. Any new threats to become known will be patched with the software update.
The golden rules are –
- Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully, and use a different one for every account.
- Ensure you always have internet security software/app loaded, kept updated and switched on.
- Never reveal too much personal or financial information … you never know who might see it, or use it.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments if the source isn’t 100% known and trustworthy.
- Take your time and think twice, because everything may not be as it seems.
Always back up your computer and keep the back up separate from your computer.
Always have antivirus software installed and kept up to date. Never download untrusted apps or use untrusted websites.
Never connect to unknown Wi-Fi Hotspots, for example in a hotel or coffee shop. There is no easy way to see who controls the hotspot or to prove that it belongs to who you think it does. If you connect to these hotspots, somebody else could access what you are working on whilst connected and/or your private login details that many apps and web services maintain whilst you’re logged on.
This is just a small snippet of protection needed to be safe, Cyber Criminals are very clever and are constantly trying new things to hack into peoples and business data. Always be vigilant and it is never a bad thing to be weary and question everything.
We hope this has helped anybody reading this. If you are running a business it is certainly recommended further training for all staff who use smartphones, tablets and computers.