While Self-Isolating #6: Improving Your Cyber Security

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Each week we're suggesting some free, productive and relatively straight-forward things you can do if you’re looking for ways to maximise your time in self-isolation.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be turning our attention to your cyber security. During the COVID-19 outbreak, there has reportedly been a 600% increase in phishing email attacks. A large proportion are COVID-19 themed. 

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Cyber criminals are looking to capitalise on the fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, focusing more on small businesses and individuals. A large number of small successful attacks are far easier and less noticeable than 1 large high risk, high reward attack.

We recently joined a webinar by our friends at Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), who have recently launched a cyber security toolkit for small businesses.

As online security practices are constantly evolving, we would like to pass on some recent information and free tools from the GCA that may help protect you and your team against such attacks. 


Passwords Practices

This is the first line of defence to your online data, but it is not always taken seriously. All online accounts, sales channels, email, personal/client records are valuable business assets to both you and potential criminals.

The good news is that this is simple to implement best password practice, and increase the likelihood of cyber criminals simply getting fed up and moving on. 

Use strong passwords

A combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. It shouldn’t be easy to guess; for example, your password should not feature any family members’ names.

Keep passwords unique to each account you use

That way, if your account is compromised, the damage is limited to just one platform. Do not be tempted to use the same passwords for personal and business accounts.

Password managers like LastPass make this much more practical – you can get this for free so we’d encourage you to check it out. 

Use two-factor authentication where possible

This is where you have to provide a second piece of evidence, after submitting your password, that you have rightful access to the account in question. This may be location verification, or submitting a verification code sent to your phone or email. Most day-to-day online platforms have this option in place now, and it’s strongly encouraged that you use it – especially for your ecommerce website.


Check if your email has been compromised

Check to see if your email address has been compromised in a data breach in the past. Simply click the link below and enter your email address. 

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

This will list all accounts associated with the provided email address, and if there has been a reported data breach for any of them. 

If your email address does appear on this list, please be sure to update your password, and to ensure any accounts using the same password are changed to their own unique password also.

We’ll aim to deliver an easy to follow bitesize security checklist over the next few weeks, based on our understanding of GCA’s guidance. For more information and resources, check out the GCA toolkit website directly: https://gcatoolkit.org/smallbusiness/ 

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