Jolly IT Anniversary tip #3: Do you know what a cyber attack would do to your business?

The answer: it could potentially cost you millions

When you are online, you come into contact with malicious viruses that, over the last few years, have been growing in ferocity. Since every business computer accesses the internet, it’s crucial that you consider protecting against malware and other suspicious programmes that will attempt to hijack your critical data in a cyber attack.

1 in 10 adults been the victim of cybercrime in the past year

The Office for National Statistics recently reported that there has also been more than 5.8m incidents of cybercrime in the past year, costing an estimated £193bn a year. These were chiefly made up of fraud offences, bank and credit card fraud, and computer misuse (including virus attacks).

Protect yourself

Follow some basic rules to stop any potential viruses. Never open an attachment unless you know who it’s from and why they are sending it. Refusing to open an unsolicited email is a sure fire way of avoiding any potential issues.

Be sure that you can verify the source before opening attachments or clicking links in any email, IM, or posts on social networks – double check the email address or web address for inconsistencies. Spam and phishing messages are one of the most popular ways cybercriminals deliver malicious content to users by tricking them to open attachments or click on links.

You can also disable auto-preview and automatic download settings in your e-mail client.

Don’t make it easy for attackers

The 2016 Global Threat Intelligence Report cites that most of the internal vulnerabilities in a business were sourced back to outdated hardware and software such as Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Acrobat, as well as MS Windows. Cybercriminals are constantly inventing new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in software installed on your computer.

What you or your IT provider can do

With persistent threats from hackers, protecting your computer is essential. No one method completely safeguards security, but many layers of defence can form some kind of protection, keeping your data safe. Depending on your administrative rights and set up of your computer, here are some steps you can take – here at Jolly IT, we can also assist you with some of these:

  • Always keep software and applications on your computer up-to-date.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date at all times.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs from reputable sources – see our blog ‘Speeding up a slow computer’ for a great recommendation
  • Do not download anything in response to a warning you get from a program you didn’t install or don’t recognize.
  • Make sure that pop-up blockers are always enabled on your Internet browser.
  • Never disable your firewall. A firewall places a protective block between your computer and the Internet.
  • Process payroll using a dedicated computer that is not used for any potentially non-secure purposes.
  • Use strong, complex passwords

One of the simplest ways to protect a business computer is to remove local admin rights, this means each time a staff member wants to download software or run a .exe file, they will be prompted to type in the Administrator username and password. An average user does not require administrative rights to run their own machine. If programs need installing, then this is something your IT support provider should do manage, under a special, administrative account which can be accessed remotely.

Depending on the size of your business, only some of these may be appropriate. Overall, be vigilant at all times, and don’t become a victim!