Cybersecurity over the Festive Season: Ten Top Tips

If you’re looking forward to the Christmas holidays, the hackers are too. And while you’re relaxing or on the work from home tick-over roster, they’re rubbing their hands in glee at what is considered a cyber version of open season: there is usually a sharp rise in hacker attacks around Christmas and New Year when there’s a lot going on elsewhere.

Here are a few ideas to help ward off the opportunists this Christmas:

  • Most hacks begin with an email or SMS, with a link or a document that once opened, lets in malware. If you don’t trust something – bin it.
  • Businesses considering an IT refresh in 2016 take notice – it’s a good idea to buy devices that allow you to reinstall the operating system as this is what the miscreants like to target.
  • Passwords – you’ve heard it before and we’ll tell you again – make them complex, keep them secret, change them regularly. If you have very sensitive data, it is well worth ensuring that this is protected on a higher level: not just by the usual username and password method.
  • A hacker might be able to use a USB stick to instal malware. Guard your device and encrypt your hard drive to help deter anyone cheeky enough to make a physical attack.
  • Being tracked is a burden of the modern age, but you can use a browser with a private mode. Again, it isn’t watertight but its scrutiny might not be as focused as that of others.
  • Encryption is great but even this is not watertight any more – try for encryption that is known to be tough, like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  • If you use physical, USB recovery keys, lock them up somewhere safe and certainly never clip tem to your key-ring!
  • There’s no end to the “inventive” ways a hacker can upload their grubby codes – as several big brands and areas of the public sector will tell you. Be aware that they can insert code into web forms and embedded adverts.
  • As we said earlier, the hackers are constantly developing ways of getting into anything to spread chaos or steal data. So update your virus checker and operating system on a regular basis – do this before checking emails or visiting any kind of financial website.
  • If in doubt about anything regarding cybersecurity – ask the experts. We are here to help and we would rather arrest a problem in its tracks than see you try something that doesn’t work and have to give you that bad news that you have lost your data – or worse.