cyber-security4We live in digital economies where information has become powerful asset to public and private institutions, nonprofit organizations and several other companies and institutions around the world.

Everyday, millions of computers online and websites get compromised and very few cyber incidents get reported. People exchanging information or carrying out businesses on computer networks are potentially at risk. Once you go online, get ready for cyber attacks. You have to be careful and cautious the way you use your computer data. Do not let your computer become vulnerable.

Did you know?

The safety of your own data and that of your work place depends on how you handle your computer especially when you go online. Over the past few months, I have thought of  publishing a blog on cybersecurity, privacy and awareness, and here you have it. I will give you tips on some helpful ideas and also provide additional links that may help you understand what I am talking about.

Some of the things I suggest you can do

  • Encrypt sensitive data if possible before sending it. Make sure it’s safe. Use passwords for; word documents, excel sheets, power points, and databases.
  • Choose the way you share information on social media. If you work in large businesses that transact huge sums of transactions daily, you may become an easy target. Hackers use phishing techniques to gain access to your credentials.
  • Upgrade from old systems to current systems. Are you still using Windows XP? Do you the support for the operating system ended on April 8, 2014? Be updated to the latest operating systems that have full support from the companies that you buy computers from.
  • Delete search and browser history from the browsers that you commonly use. Remember to delete unwanted documents from your computer.
  • Maintain all work documents on work email addresses. Do not send work documents using personal emails. It will be easier to explain whenever you are involved in a cyber incident.
  • Upgrade your computer with latest anti-virus or anti-malware. Remember the bad guys are always ready to gain access to your computer.
  • I recommend that you change your passwords after every 72 – 90 days.
  • Lock your computer screen when stepping away from your work desk. You never know who may be interested in stealing data from your computer. Lock your Mac’s screen by simultaneously pressing these keys: Control + Shift + Eject, other Macs use Control + Shift + Power. For Windows computer, use Win + L keyboard shortcut.
  • Many people are now using cloud computing to save data. This is a very secure way of saving big data. Gmail and Hotmail subscribers have free 30 GB available on Google drive and one drive respectively.

Some of the things I suggest you should not do

  • Don’t click on LINKS that you don’t know or have anything to do with. There are so many scams on social media today and I would like to make this a song (STOP clicking on suspicious LINKS). Hackers will trick you with “LIKE” buttons to click on. Can we sing this song together? “Do NOT click on Links.”
  • Don’t just download apps you find online, be sure of what you are downloading on your devices. Some of the apps are used to steal people’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
  • Do not create simple passwords that are easy to remember. I am talking about passwords like your; pet’s, girlfriend’s, boyfriend’s name. These may be are easier to break-in. Combine special characters such as @#$&, with letters and numbers to create stronger passwords.
  • Do not call your friends to help you fix your work computer. Consult your IT department whenever you face problems on your work computer.
  • Don’t leave a cyber café in a hurry before logging out completely. You may be in a hurry but your PII may not. Ensure that you log out from active websites, and clear browsing history.

My Suggestions for larger organizations

  • Train your employees to understand issues related to cyber attacks and how to prevent them from occurring
  • Use data encryption methods when exchanging data.
  • Use systems that ask employees to change passwords after every 3 – 4 months, force passwords that have combined special characters, numbers and letters. Make them not less than 8 characters.
  • Have an IT team that is able to conduct attacks on your own systems in-order-to identify weaknesses and strengths in your network.

Remember to stay safe, the bad guys are always out there ready to attack, gain access to your devices and steal your information.

I hope you find the suggestions very helpful. If you require additional information, we can connect on my: Twitter | Linkedin account.

Useful articles and websites on cybersecurity

Information Technology Privacy and Security

Cybercrime costs $575B yearly

Nearly 1 million new malware threats released every day

HOW MANY CYBERATTACKS HIT THE UNITED STATES LAST YEAR?

Hacking of Government Computers Exposed 21.5 Million People

 

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