Six ways to deter cyber criminals

George Smith of Kamarin Computers.
George Smith of Kamarin Computers.

Cybercriminals continue to target the world with frightening ruthlessness and efficiency.

Hackers recently infected thousands of poorly protected Internet-of- Things (IoT) devices with malware, bringing down much of America’s internet including major global corporates such as Amazon and Twitter.

Closer to home, a man was arrested in Peterborough for his part in a sophisticated cyber theft, which extracted $50,000 dollars from a company by taking over its computers.

Despite previous convictions for burglary, the man escaped with community service and a suspended sentence, not much of a deterrent!

We hear about the “mega hacks” of blue chip companies all the time, but this level of cyber crime is far more common and happening on a huge scale.

Hundreds of Thousands of pounds are stolen every day from businesses across the UK and beyond.

So make sure you follow our top six IT security tips:

1. Install updates: This might be time consuming but it is the most effective way of protecting against new cyber threats. Check for software updates and patches regularly and install them.

2. Avoid complacency: Cybercriminals are constantly evolving new types of malware and viruses and remain ahead of law enforcement; they have to be to make money. Never assume you are safe. Change passwords regularly and carry periodic IT security reviews to identify possible gaps.

3. Protect critical data: Encrypt and backup sensitive business data that could be stolen and ransomed by hackers at huge cost (a technique known as ‘Ransomware’, which affects over a quarter of UK businesses). Secure your WIFI network, we recently tested Lynch Wood using a survey method known as ‘warbiking’ and found that 67% of networks were unprotected!

4. Be aware and train staff to be aware: Personal awareness can go a long way in preventing a cyber attack. If something looks suspicious (e.g. an email), report it immediately and do not open it.

5. Consider outsourcing IT security: Businesses lacking the time, knowledge, experience or inclination to deal with their own IT security should consider outsourcing it to an external specialist partner. This will allow them to concentrate on core business functions.

6. Protect IoT devices: Connected devices such as WIFI printers are becoming far more common in businesses, as well as homes. Read the manual and change password on all devices, if you leave it set as the default then the device is highly vulnerable.

IT security is a complex issue where the winners and losers will be defined at least in part by how attentive businesses are in protecting themselves. Please contact us if you require any further advice or clarification.