While the internet is a wonderful thing and it has opened up so many opportunities, it still has its downsides. No longer are people wanting to rob a bank. Instead, they are hacking into systems and stealing data from unsuspecting businesses, causing a lot of stress in the process. Smaller businesses are at risk more because they don’t have the resources of the bigger companies to afford the best firewalls and security software. This still doesn’t stop those big companies from making the headlines when they experience a cyber-attack.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There is a multibillion-dollar industry that specialises in protecting organisations and individuals from data thieves who can not only gain access to your home, office or bank, but also the phone that you always carry with you. In fact, cyber attacks are so common that it is said you should expect one in the future, so it pays to have some plans in place to lower the chances of it happening.

Here are some tips and tricks to help minimise the risk of cybercrime for your business and at home.

Be Careful with Emails

One of the ways that hackers tend to get into your systems is through email because people aren’t always aware of what is happening until it is too late. There are many stories of people opening suspicious emails and clicking on links that they shouldn’t, only to have their data stolen or corrupted. Some of the ways that you can prevent this from happening is to:

  • Always be cautious of opening emails from unknown senders, especially is the email address looks strange or suspicious.
  • Never open an email attachment or hyperlink if you don’t know what it is. They will often have numbers and letters mixed in, or misspelt words to give away that it is a fake document.
  • Check the emails that are sent to you for poor spelling and grammar. Hackers will often try to pose as organisations that you will trust, but make sure you check the layout of the email, as an official email won’t have mistakes and they won’t ask for personal details.
  • Take your time reading emails so you don’t rush ahead and click on a link or attachment that you shouldn’t.
  • Make sure you never send personal information through email. If you are hacked, then the criminals will have access to sensitive information that they can steal from you.

Surfing the Web

There are always risks with the internet and the chance to click on a site that you shouldn’t, but there are some precautions that you can take to make the experience better for you.

  • Don’t visit any websites that are unknown to you. If something looks suspicious, the likelihood is that it could cause damage to your systems.
  • Always look for the trusted website symbols when browsing the web. It should say that it is a secure website, showing that there are no issues. As well as this, if you have security software installed on your computer it will notify you when it thinks a website could be harmful and keep you from entering it.
  • When it comes to making purchases online, always be careful when providing your bank details. Only buy from verified sources that offer protection from hackers and never save the details to your bank cards on accounts.
  • Always be careful with what you post on social media. It makes it easier for people to find out information about you and steal your data.

Creating Passwords

One of the biggest reasons that people experience hacking and cybercrimes is because their password isn’t secure enough. Too many people use the same password for everything and often use something that is easy to guess or personal to them, sometimes storing them in their phone for safe keeping. When creating and using a password, you must:

  • Choose a password that contains more than 8 characters. This rule should be applied to every password you create, and each one should be different to offer more security. If you have the same password for everything and someone discovers what it is, they have access to your whole life and business.
  • Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols in all of your passwords. A password such as ‘password1’ is easy to guess, but one that includes a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, a symbol such as ‘!’ or a number are much harder to guess.
  • Avoid using personal information such as your name, birthday or favourite colour when creating a password.
  • Never disclose your passwords to anyone or save them online. Instead, write them down in a notebook that only you have access to and store it in a locked drawer to keep it safe. There is even software such as LastPass that will store your passwords securely for you.

Adding Security Measures

If you really want to keep the hackers at bay, then you need good security measures put in place to protect your data and that of customers or clients of your business. Some of the best ways to do this include:

  • Activating your computer’s firewall and installing anti-virus and anti-malware software that will work to protect you from cyberattacks.
  • Protecting all sensitive documents and information with encryption as an extra precaution should you get hacked.
  • Ensuring your data is backed up regularly either on-site or remotely. This will allow you to restore your systems should a cyberattack happen and shut you down, wiping your information completely.

If you would like to know more about protecting your business and how we can help you, why not apply for a free IT review here.