Following our blog to keep businesses safe on-line we’ve been inspired by recent client events that reinforce the fact all businesses need tech savvy staff!  With this in mind we’ve published these easy to follow steps that are designed to educate staff on the practice of safe computer use…

Tech savvy passwords

Never use simple or popular / common passwords and never use the same password for all accounts, where possible always keep passwords different for each account.

If you use the password HarryPotter123 you will likely get hacked, most dictionary wielding hackers have got wise to that! HarryP0tt3r123 is also not advisable, as again they know to how crack this trick. H@RrYpOtTeR would stump most dictionary attacks and with 11 characters it would take a long time to guess by attempting sequences.

If a hacker manages to somehow decrypt the password database of eBay or PayPal, would the password you use for this service match the one you have for your email and bank account? This is an increasing problem, criminals hack one account and get the key to all of them!

If you don’t know where it came from, don’t open it!

This doesn’t only apply to emails.  Websites often prompt the user to install something as you browse pages, these can sometimes be malicious software code.

IT Savvy

We have noticed a rise in websites that have been hijacked to infect surfers with malicious viruses. Even with up-to-date anti-virus software and locked down computer permissions, clicking unfamiliar links and opening unknown files can infect computers. The only way to truly safeguard a network is to invest in a solid defence firewall, such as a WatchGuard, a Cisco ASA or a Dell SonicWALL network appliance.

By educating tech savvy staff to not click unknown sites, links and files your business will enormously lower the risk of computer infections.

Never install free add-ons, utilities and software widgets

 

Ever installed one thing and ended up with loads of other ‘tools’ you didn’t want? It’s easily done, and free software vendors are very good at hiding these software ‘options’!

This is how the vendors of free software generate an income, they are paid by third party software vendors to include their software with the install.  If you click ‘custom’ or ‘advanced’ when installing the free software, there’s normally always an option to prevent the install of extra add-ons and widgets.

These add-ons are designed to monitor your browsing and purchasing and basically track you for marketing purposes.  They slow computers and can sometimes be a pain to remove.

The best advice is to consult with your IT department or tech savvy staff before installing any free software on a computer.

 Anti-malware/Anti-virus 

Check that it is up to date and running the latest edition, then check that it is actually running!  These days anti-virus software should be installed on PC’s, servers, Macs, phones and tablets too.

Check the software you are using is designed for commercial use and that’s it’s one that actually detects infections.  Consider putting Malwarebytes on your computer alongside the standard anti-virus so that both virus and malware infections can be detected and removed quickly.

Never install more than one anti-virus software product, Malwarebytes is okay as it’s designed for malware and can sit alongside most AV software.

If your software alerts you to a virus let your IT support department know and switch off your computer.

Privacy settings

Most Facebook users have enough information online to forfill even a low level scammer.  They can use this information to steal identities and obtain finance on your behalf.  Our advice is lock everything down! This applies to all your online social media accounts, keep tech savvy and don’t leave yourself open to cyber criminals.

Update, update, update

windows updates

If your computer alerts you to Windows and third party software updates, install them as quickly as possible.  Updates are regularly released to combat security flaws and patch vulnerabilities, by not installing them you’re making your machine an easy target!

We hope these easy to follow steps help in educating staff to be tech savvy and safeguard your business computers.