We see stories every day about cyber fraud and increasingly sophisticated cyber-criminals. It can be overwhelming, but there are very simple things you can do to start protecting yourself and your business from cyber fraud right now. We recommend starting with these basics.
Passwords are a common area of weakness and one of the simplest to fix.
Make sure every account you have, across the internet, has a strong, unique password. Don’t use the same password twice, and make sure that each has a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Change your passwords regularly—two to three times per year.
Avoid the common mistake of using one password for multiple accounts or sites. Many sites will prompt you to create a strong password, requiring a certain number and type of characters. Learn from those sites and create strong passwords on every account.
Passwords and PINs are also a powerful tool for your devices. Secure every device with a passcode. Your goal is for the device to be useless if lost or stolen.
Make sure every employee in your organization has some basic training to avoid cyber-crime. Learning to recognize phishing emails and phone calls is essential for front line personnel who interact regularly with the public.
You can research common email and phone cyber fraud yourself or hire a professional to train you and your employees. Training needs to take place regularly. Your awareness of currently circulating cyber fraud techniques can be a powerful defense against cyber-crime.
Any device you use to access the internet should have the most current system updates installed. Updates often patch cyber security risks that have been identified as avenues for cyber-crime by the device manufacturers.
Don’t forget to update every device, including phones and tablets. If you own a business make sure that your employees also keep their devices updated. Working with a company that specializes in managed IT services can also be valuable in keeping your devices and programs updated.
These strategies may seem too simple to be effective, but most cyber fraud takes advantage of existing weaknesses in basic systems. Strengthening those systems is a first step towards reducing your risk of cyber-crime.