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Six cyber security tips for a safer time online

Mon 30th Nov 20

Six cyber security tips for a safer time online

In our ever more online, connected world, cyber security is also a growing concern. Whether in business or in our personal lives, keeping our personal data safe, and that of anyone else we are custodians of data for, is paramount.

This is especially important for business and the General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May 2018, obliges us to comply with very strict, but very necessary requirements.

Cyber criminals constantly adapt to our security techniques, so the threat of data breaches is ever-present, but there are many things we can do to help lessen the risks. Here, the team from Ryan’s has listed six cyber security tips…

1. Invest into well-known, recommended anti-virus software

Antivirus software will help you to detect and remove malware from your computer. There are many to choose from and some are even free. Be aware, though, that sometimes too good to be true is just that, and some free programs may actually download viruses onto your system.

Check with your IT service company and buy from a tried and trusted source. Your IT service company will also be able to help you install it and recommend when to run it.

2. Keep your files and your data backed up

Making sure you have a copy of all of your data and files is one of the easiest and most important things you can do. That’s because, if you are subject to a cyber-attack, you may not be able to get to your data or files at all.

These backups can be stored on an external hard drive or you could use a cloud service. Your IT services company will be able to advise you.

3. Keep your devices and software up to date

Most connected devices and apps can be updated regularly so, when your provider alerts you to an update, make sure to make use of it. As well as new features and functionality, updates often include new security patches. It’s also a good idea to remove any software and apps you don’t use any more.

4. Create complex, unique passwords

While it can be tempting to choose the same password for all of your online accounts, this lays you open to risk, as if a hacker discovers your password, they can use it to access everything. It’s therefore important to use a different password for each online account you have.

Using a password management system for this can help, storing all of your passwords and allowing you to remember just the one for the system itself. Make sure, too, that your passwords are complex, using letters, numbers and symbols and perhaps creating a short phrase that makes sense only to you.

Finally, two-factor authentication will alert you if anyone else is trying to log in to your accounts, so it’s a good idea to turn this on wherever you can.

5. Be careful on free Wi-Fi networks

Using the free Wi-Fi as we’re travelling, in a café or any public area can often be useful. Be careful if you’re logging in to any of your accounts while on free Wi-Fi, though, as these are often not secure. This means that anyone can access the network, and potentially get hold of your data.

6. Don’t overshare your personal data online

It’s a good idea to limit the amount of personal information you share online. Fraudsters are incredibly clever and can seem very genuine. Always stop and think twice before sharing.

The information you post onto your social media accounts could also be used by hackers, especially when it comes to the answers to your security questions. It may be no coincidence that the answers you give to some apps asking your first pet’s name, the first road you lived in, or your mother’s maiden name are the same answers you may use for your security questions. Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts and ensure they’re set so that only friends and family can see them.

While all of these tips will help you to keep your accounts secure, nothing is 100% failsafe. Cyber insurance is there to help. At Ryan’s, our advisers can work with you to determine if you need cyber insurance for business, and what levels of cover you may require. Contact the team today on 01473 343492.