Are you really cyber safe?

7 steps to keep you and your business safe from cyber threats

Both consumers and businesses, now more than ever, need to be aware and vigilant in managing their online security.

Despite consumer awareness of cyber security, many don’t take the necessary steps to protect their personal information.

In fact, a McAfee survey of 6,400 people globally found only 37% of consumers had signed up for identity theft protection and 28% had no plans to sign up to this service.

Consumer online concerns

For consumers, there are concerns around bank and credit card accounts, social media fraudulent posts and credit monitoring.

Of course the concerns extend to children who are now virtually glued to their tablets and smart phones.

The McAfee survey data is alarming. Almost one third of parents do not monitor their children’s connected device usage and 33% don’t know the risks well enough to explain the dangers.

Starting the cyber safety talk with children early is imperative.

Many households have multiple devices connected at any one time, but there are solutions to protect your data and your wireless home network.

The concern is just as real, if not more, for businesses.

2018 became the year of enforceable personal data guidelines at home and abroad.

For businesses, cyber security is a crucial part of overall business risk management policies and procedures particularly in an ever increasing mobile work force.

Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme

It is even more important for businesses with the recent enforceable Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme under the Privacy Act 1988.

The NDB, introduced in February 2018, applies to Australian agencies and organisations and requires them to take steps to secure certain categories of personal information.

If you are concerned that your personal information may have been involved in a data breach, there are guidelines available from the Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

How to stay protected

Everyone who has a computer account, either for business, personal or both, is a potential target. It is important to be alert and assume ill intent until proven otherwise.

The best form of action is to help yourself by using some of our tips.

Thanks to Robert McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of CXO Security, here are 7 steps to keep yourself and/or your business safe online.

1. Beware of phishing emails Do not reply to, follow links or open attachments from any unexpected or suspicious emails – even if it’s from someone or a business you recognise. Cybercriminals often use the display name of major brands as a phishing tactic. If in doubt, check the source first and make sure the sender is genuine.

2. Stay safe on public WiFi Always check that the WiFi network you are connecting to is from a legitimate source. This can be hard or next to impossible for many non-technical folks. Consequently the preferred method of access is to use your own mobile data.

3. Be selective with social media Be careful about what you share on social media. Information about you, your family, friends and workplace can be used to socially engineer a phishing attack or you could be ‘giving away’ customer information.

4. Ensure robust password security Be sure to use different passwords for different accounts. Passwords need to be as long as possible and contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols and be at least 12 characters long. Password managers can help.

5. Keep your home network secure When working from home, ensure your home network is kept secure. • When finished with the network connection, disconnect from the WiFi network – especially if it’s a shared machine at home. • Do not share keys or passwords with anyone (flat mate, neighbours etc). • Lock your screen after 15 minutes of non-use. No matter where you are working from, make sure you lock your computer screen when it is not in use or when you are away from it.

6. Safeguard your mobile security If you want to access work emails and information on your mobile phone, ensure your device has a pin, pattern or password. Try to use 3G or 4G internet access where possible to avoid unsecured WiFi networks.

7. Be aware of what you are plugging in Before plugging a USB memory stick or other removable media into your device, think about where it has come from. Only use encrypted media and ensure it has come from a trusted source. Viruses and malware can easily be spread this way.

It is important for consumers and business owners alike to ensure good cyber safety practices to protect personal data and safeguard against fraudulent activity.