At CRIBB we pride ourselves on helping organisations to achieve cyber-resilience. Through certifications, data protection officer services and more, our cyber security experts are always ready to help. But what about security for individuals? Here are some tips to stay safe online.
Quick steps to take
- Avoid adding confidential data online where possible
- Do not click on suspicious links
- Always read important information on websites
- Be wary of free wi-fi
By taking these steps now you will increase your own cyber resilience. You should always be mindful of how you are using a device and the network connection that is in place. For example, never access your online banking if connected to an unknown network.
What else can you do to be more cyber aware?
Adopt different passwords
Quite simply, avoid using the same password across multiple websites, apps or portals. CRIBB’s Patrick Carolan suggests that you consider the following when creating passwords:
“Ideally you should make your passwords long. Hackers use brute force attacks to access your personal information and longer passwords take longer to crack. For some context, a 3-digit password typically takes less than 1 second to crack.
“Include random phrases and words, and don’t worry about being grammatically correct. In fact, it’s a good idea to use poor grammar – anything that is not going to be obvious. Combine letters with numbers and symbols too, and you will be in a much stronger position.
“It is also worth considering the use of a password manager.”
Install the latest updates
Always keep your software, devices and apps up-to-date to ensure you have the latest security updates. Make sure you are running the latest OS version too. The key is to minimise software vulnerabilities, which hackers are very fond of taking advantage of.
Back-up data regularly
Having a strong back-up strategy is critical in cyber security. Back-ups are the last line of defence against data breaches and data loss. Indeed, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) published this related guide for small businesses. If it is good enough for an SME, it must be good enough for personal use!
Consider the use of MFA
Finally we arrive at MFA – multi-factor authentication – the benefits of which are laid out by Patrick Carolan. “MFA provides additional layers of security. This makes it tougher for hackers to uncover your data, because they need to steal multiple credentials to access it.
“Think about OTP codes in online banking. When moving money in-between bank accounts, they are fairly non-intrusive but crucially make your security that much stronger.”