In recent years, the extent of cyber security threats has increased rather than diminished. The fifth edition of the Cyber Breaches Survey has revealed that “cyber attacks have evolved and become more frequent” with almost half of businesses (46%) and a quarter of charities (26%) having reported cyber security breaches or attacks in 2019/2020.
This has left many businesses worried about how much of their private information is has been exposed or misused.
Online privacy is something that every business should get to grips with. There are several steps you can take to protect your financial and personal information while surfing the web.
We list some ways that you can boost your organisation’s online privacy below.
Do not overshare on social media
Hackers are watching you!
One of the best ways to protect your privacy online is by restricting the information you share about yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
The best way to restrict what you are sharing is by ignoring the “About Me” section on your social media profile, as this section often gives away your date of birth, hometown, and other sensitive details.
Cyber criminals are aware that users are more likely to create passwords using personal information (e.g. a pet’s name, mother’s maiden name.) That is why it is important to create strong passwords. Use the “think random” approach which is recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). On its website, the NCSC advises that you should “create passwords using three random words. You just put them together, like ‘coffeetrainfish’ or ‘walltinshirt’.”
Stay private with incognito mode
If you do not want your computer to save your browsing history, temporary internet files, or cookies, cyber security firm Norton suggests browsing in incognito or private mode when using the internet.
Norton warns that:
“Private modes aren’t completely private. When you are searching in incognito or private mode, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still see your browsing activity. If you are searching on a company computer, so can your employer. The websites you visit can also track you.
So, yes, incognito browsing does have certain benefits. But it is far from the only tool available to help you maintain your privacy while online. Anonymous search engines and virtual private networks can bolster your online privacy.”
Beware of phishing attacks
Hackers use phishing attacks to gain sensitive, confidential information from users by pretending to be communications from a legitimate person or institution.
A phishing attack may come in the form of a text message, email or phone call. Some hackers will even use a whole website to seem like a legitimate organisation.
Scammers use these media to try and trick their victims into providing valuable financial or personal information. In most cases, a hacker will demand that the victim clicks on a link keep their account from being frozen or closed.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links altogether. Always hover your cursor over the link to inspect it and view the destination URL. If the URL does not match the official website of an organisation, do not click it, and remember, when accessing your online accounts, you should always log in directly from the company’s website rather than from a link in an email or other message.
Secure your mobile devices
Mobile security should be at the top of your company’s worry list.
User habits have changed and many of us are more likely to spend time online shopping, surfing the web and emailing our colleagues using our smartphones.
This change in the way we use our phones for work has meant that it has become more and more common for hackers to access corporate data from smartphones, which has made it even harder for businesses to protect sensitive information.
You can protect your device by using a passcode to lock your phone. Avoid using your birth date, your house number, or any other codes that a thief may be able to guess.
Make sure that you are also applying the same caution when using the internet on your phone as you would on your desktop, download trusted apps and be wary of suspicious emails and notifications.
Lastly, do not ignore software updates. Ignoring updates could leave your smartphone’s operating system and programs vulnerable to attack.
Protect with antivirus software
It is vital that your organisation installs antivirus software on all its devices.
Anti-malware measures are included within Windows and MacOS software for free, which can be installed on all computers and laptops. By simply clicking ‘enable’ on this software you are instantly safer.
This software deters hackers from remotely taking over your computer and accessing sensitive information.
Make sure you also install updates as soon as they become available. Updating your software will help to protect your organisation against the latest viruses.
Take control of your cyber security
Cyber Essentials can help your organisation to take control of its cyber strategy
Officially backed by the UK Government, Cyber Essentials is a great solution for businesses looking to improve their cyber security settings and standing. By implementing five simple key controls, you can protect your business from up to 80% of common cyber security threats.
Visit our product page to learn more about how Cyber Essentials can support your business to achieve its cyber security goals.