Layers of preventative, detective, corrective, and assurance controls can minimise the likelihood and impact of cyber attacks.
Originally posted 26 October 2022
As we acknowledge Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, we are drawing attention to actions you can take to reduce your cyber risk and help protect yourself online.
While there is a multitude of threats lurking online, it is important to remember there are just as many ways to defend yourself. Here are some simple tips you can do today to help protect yourself online.
Update your device
Updating your software is like getting your car serviced. It improves your device’s performance and makes it more secure. Do not delay when you see updates ready to install. Some of the best advice we can give you is to ensure you set up your device to automatically install updates, which can fix any known security weaknesses in your software and keep hackers at bay. Remember, updates are often released to fix a known vulnerability so until you have installed it, hackers will know what the vulnerability is and may gain access to your device.
Turn on multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your online accounts, also known as One Time Password (OTP), is what a security screen is to your home - it protects you from criminals trying to break in. With MFA activated, you need to provide multiple pieces of information to gain access to your account. For example, you may need to enter your password and a text message code to log in to your social media account. While cybercriminals might manage to work out one part of your login, such as your password, the multiple layers make it harder for them to access your account as they still need to obtain other pieces of the puzzle.
Back up your device
Performing a backup is when you make a copy of your important files and put them somewhere secure. It is like photocopying precious photos to keep in a safe place in case you lose the originals. When you backup your computer, phone, or tablet, copies of your files are saved online or to a separate device, providing you with peace of mind. If something goes wrong with your device, or you get hacked by cyber criminals, you can easily restore your files from your backups.
Backup your device, laptop, or computer today and ensure you are doing this frequently.
Change your passwords
How long have you had the same password for a device or online account? And do you use the same password on multiple sites? Passwords can get compromised and leaked, so it is important to change them on a regular basis. Try to make them memorable, but complex. If you have difficulty remembering your passwords then think about using one of the many online password vaults such as, LastPass and 1Password, to help keep them secure.
We’ve also recently published a handy guide on how to best secure your credentials.
Shut down your devices when not in use
We all have the habit of closing devices or putting them on standby when not in use. Devices on standby are still connected to the internet and therefore vulnerable to compromise. Shutting down your device at night, or at the end of your day, is a useful exercise for several reasons:
- Shutting down often clears out some of the temporary memory (CACHE) which contains browsing history as well as usernames and passwords for some internet sites
- When the device is off, it is not vulnerable to attack
- Shutting down can extend your battery life as the device is not using power
- If you have automatic updates on (see first dot point), when you restart, the device will automatically apply the changes.
Using devices when outside the office or the home
There are several things you can do to help stay safe online when not in a secure office or home environment:
- Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you are not using them
- Ensure your device does not automatically connect to new Wi-Fi networks
- When the device is off it is not vulnerable to attack
- Ensure your device is set to automatically lock after a short period of inactivity
- Do not charge your device at a public charging station and avoid chargers from third parties
- When using your device in public, ensure no one can see the screen
- Treat your device like a wallet or purse and always keep it with you and in sight.
Layers of preventative, detective, corrective, and assurance controls can minimise the likelihood and impact of cyber attacks. BDO’s Cyber Security team has compiled a checklist to assist your organisation in determining whether your cyber security controls are up to date.
To discuss cybersecurity in your business, including your information security awareness program, get in touch with a member of the BDO Cyber Security team.