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Ian Kerr: Top 5 tips to improving your cyber security

Author: Amanda Caton/30 August 2017/Categories: Blog

Ian Kerr, Managing Director of ID Cyber Solutions Ltd, provides five handy tips on quick and easy ways you can improve your security online. 

1. Is Your Password Your Weakest Link?

Your password is your key to your digital life. Many people tend to use short, easy to remember passwords when working online. Doing this could put your online life at risk. It is a misconception that a secure password must be 8 characters long with a mixture of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special characters. In fact, short passwords like this are easy to crack within a matter of seconds.

The key to a strong password is its length, therefore, it should be 15 or more characters long. I know what you’re thinking now: “Ok, but how am I ever going to remember that?”

It’s easy! Try using a password like Australianscookshrimponabbq! Or IsThisTheRightPasswordForFacebook? 

Long passwords like that are almost impossible to guess or crack and make it really easy to remember. The other important thing to remember, never use the same password twice. Indeed, once your username and passwords are compromised by attackers on one site, they will try it on all other sites to see if it works. 

Also, if your password is leaked change it right away. Strong passwords create a very strong link in the Cyber Security chain.

2. Use the Right Account


When you first set up your computer, your user account is set up as an Administrator by default. This allows you to change settings, install and run software on your computer. Running your computer under the Administrator account, not only allow you install and run software but also allows any software that is downloaded to be run automatically.

This could be hidden in an email attachment that is sent to you from a hacker and if you are using an admin account, the hacker could get full access to your computer, change setting and load software to compromise your data. The best way to protect yourself is to create a user account for everyday activities and only use the admin account when you need it.


3. Don’t be Hacked by Default


Most computer related products come with a default username and password, including the routers that are sent out from your Internet Service providers. For example, the default credentials for the router of one of our main Network provider in the UK are: 

username: admin    password: changeme

Default usernames and passwords are easily found on the Internet by a google search.

Remember that even devices like IP Cameras, Printers, Smart tv’s and heating controllers, all have default passwords and can be used to gain access to your computer if left unchanged.

4. Your Anti-Virus is Your Friend

Whether you like it or not, anti-virus / anti-malware software is a must. Without good malware protection, your computer is at risk of being compromised and at worst, all your data could be destroyed.

Anti-Malware software isn’t a fix for an infected computer but is like a vaccination for your computer. We have come across many people that tell us that they have removed their Anti-virus software because it slowed their computer down and nothing has ever happened to their computer. 

However, when we tested their computers, we found out that it was hacked, and a program had been installed that is stealing the owner’s personal information.

And for the people that say “I don’t need Anti-virus, why would anyone want to hack me?” Cyber criminals are like a medical virus; they hit weak and unprotected first.

5. Stay Up to Date

All software has the potential to have weaknesses. Software vendors constantly test their products for weaknesses and release security updates to fix problems.

If you don’t install these updates, you leave your computer open to someone using the weaknesses to gain access to your computer.

Anti-Malware software updates are sent out with the latest viruses found. Most free anti-virus software is updated daily with paid versions updated every 5 min. 


PLEASE IMPLEMENT THESE 5 STEPS TO INCREASE YOUR PERSONAL AND BUSINESS CYBER SECURITY.

WHY WOULDN’T YOU??!!

ID Cyber Solutions offer exclusive discounts on Cyber Essentials accreditation to members of the BSIA. To find out more about how to take advantage of this discount, visit www.bsia.co.uk/cyber 


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