Cyber crime easy tips to keep you safe

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Cyber crime easy tips to keep you safe

October is cyber security month. News keeps coming in. Cyber-attack here, breech there, even your mother is asking if it is safe to open uncle Joes email. Articles from Forbes and TechRepublic, reports from Cisco and Microsoft. Yet as the reports come, estimates are from 41% to 52% of small to medium businesses have been breached over the last year and there is no sign of it letting up soon. And with the holidays coming around the corner I can promise everyone is at risk!

So, I can bore you with tons of report-based figures and try to scare you into doing something or I can take this time to go over some basics. I am going to choose the latter.

Cybersecurity starts with you. It’s a human thing. Computers only do what we tell them to do (more or less). What I mean by this is that, someone is trying to do old school crimes with the technology of today. No different from the common pick pocket or car thief, todays cybercriminal wants something we have. So just like basic crimes we must harden ourselves against this new type of attacks.

There are easy things to do and harder things to do and depending on the type of crime/attack you are facing you need to different things.

Let’s start off with the easy stuff. .

Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips

Use Strong Passwords

Use different user ID / password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 10 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis.

Secure your computer

Activate your firewall – Firewalls are the first line of cyber defense; they block connections to unknown or bogus sites and will keep out some types of viruses and hackers.
Use anti-virus/malware software
Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating anti-virus software.

Block spyware attacks

Prevent spyware from infiltrating your computer by installing and updating anti-spyware software.

Be Social-Media Savvy

Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MSN, etc.) are set to private.

Check your security settings.

Be careful what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!

Secure your Mobile Devices

Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

Download applications from trusted sources.
Install the latest operating system updates
Keep your applications and operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) current with the latest system updates.

Turn on automatic updates to prevent potential attacks on older software.

Protect your Data

Use encryption for your most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records

Make regular back-ups of all your important data and store it in another location.

Secure your wireless network

Wi-Fi (wireless) networks are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not properly secured.

Review and modify default settings.

Public Wi-Fi, a.k.a. “Hot Spots”, are also vulnerable. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks.

Protect your e-identity

Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet.

Make sure that websites are secure (e.g. when making online purchases) or that you’ve enabled privacy settings (e.g. when accessing/using social networking sites).

Avoid being scammed

Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin.

Don’t feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message. When in doubt, verify the source.

Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.


Call the right person for help

Don’t panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content (e.g. child exploitation) or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a commercial scam, report this to your local police. If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, consult with your service provider or a certified computer technician.

So where does it end?  It can end with you. Your company. Your mom. It all depends on the steps you take to ensure your systems and networks are secure. Cybercrime will more than likely never end. But you can make sure that you are a prepared and being mindful of what you are doing and why


About Author


Tina has more than 20 years of experience as a highly effective professional in the technology industry. In 2012, Tina started Boutique IT Solutions and continues to provide affordable & user-friendly technology solutions to local NEO businesses and their owners. Tina understands the needs of small-medium businesses because she lives it every day, and through that knowledge she has been able to help hundreds of businesses improve the bottom line. We hope you enjoy her blog!

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