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How to stay safe and secure against cyber attacks

03/07/2017
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Given the important position that engineering firms play in the global economy, cyber criminals increasingly view them as attractive targets.
 
The energy industry alone is experiencing an increased number of attacks. 77% of respondents to a recent piece of research stated that they had seen an increase in the number of successful cyber attacks over the past 12 months. 

Whilst you may assume it’s the job of your IT department to maintain sufficient defences against potential attacks (and they certainly play a critical role), we can all take measures to protect ourselves, and our organisations, from threats.
Cyber attacks are increasingly being focused upon the global engineering industries
To help you stay safe and secure online, Fircroft’s IT team have created some tips that you can follow:
 
1. Don't be tricked into giving away confidential information.

Don’t respond to emails or phone calls requesting confidential information; including employee information, financial results or other sensitive company or personal information.

It’s easy for an unauthorised person to call you and to pretend to be an employee or a business partner. Stay on guard to avoid falling for such scams, and report any suspicious activity to your relevant IT team.

2. Don't use an unprotected computer.

When you access sensitive information from an unsecure computer, such as in an internet café or shared machine, any information you view may be at risk.

When viewing personal or business information ensure that you are using a secured computer that is running the latest approved security patches, antivirus and firewall. 

3. Don't leave sensitive information lying around.

It may seem obvious, but don’t leave print outs of sensitive information lying around. Ensure sensitive documents are locked away securely.

4. Lock your computer and mobile phone when not in use.

Always lock your computer and mobile phone when you are not using them. Even if you are leaving your computer or mobile unattended for a short period it is always recommended to lock them. Within Windows operating systems the Windows Key and L is a short cut to locking your computer. On Apple Macintosh computers Control-Shift-Power is a short cut to locking your computer.

5. Stay alert and report suspicious activity.

Always report any suspicious activity to your IT team. An important part of their job is to prevent cyber attacks and ensure that data is not lost or stolen. But they need your help. As soon as you have any suspicions please contact your IT team directly.
Cyber criminals are focusing on their attentions on global energy businesses
6. Password protect sensitive files and devices.

Always password protect sensitive files on your computer, USB, smartphone etc.

In addition, encrypt your devices and use strong passwords. And if the worst happens and you do experience a data breach, contact your IT department immediately.

7. Always use hard-to-guess passwords.

At the most basic level, don’t use obvious passwords such as ‘password’, or obvious character sequences on the qwerty keyboard like ‘asdfg’ or ‘12345’.

To make your passwords stronger consider using a combination of different letter cases, numbers and punctuation.

You should also be using different passwords for different applications, websites and devices. Thus, if one does get hacked, your other accounts won’t be compromised.

8. Be cautious of suspicious emails and links.

Don’t let curiosity get the best of you!

Always delete suspicious emails and links. Even opening or viewing these emails and links can compromise your computer and create unwanted problems without your knowledge.

9. Don't plug in personal devices without approval from your IT department.

Don’t plug in personal devices like USB drives, MP3 players and smartphones without first gaining approval from your IT department.

Without your knowledge, your devices can be compromised with code which will launch as soon as you plug them into a computer.
 
10. Don't install unauthorised programs on your work computer.

Malicious applications often pose as legitimate programs, like games, tools or even antivirus software.

They aim to fool you into infecting your computer or company network.

If you like an application and think it would be useful, speak to your IT department before installing it.

We hope these tips help you and your company to stay safe online.
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How to stay safe and secure against cyber attacks - Time to read 4 min
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