Annual events always create a stir; Christmas decorations pop up as early as October causing people to rant about the season or get excited as Will Ferrell eating the four main food groups. Then we have Easter eggs on display in January and before you know it, it’ll be BBQ weather and the cycle repeats. I’m keen on another annual event that has started in October and it isn’t Halloween or Bonfire Night: that’s right it’s National Cyber Security Awareness month!
This year, the message is pretty clear from the NCSA team: Stop. Think. Connect. We all know that the most secure infrastructure isn’t guaranteed to stop a breach or keep hackers from tinkering around within the network. So what is important? Personally, I think the key to effective cyber security is to take your time and assess the situation before acting.
- If you see an email from an unrecognised source, don’t click on it. Report it.
- If you are connecting to a public Wi-Fi connection, make sure it is secure or make sure you are not accessing sensitive information on it.
- If you have doubts about the strength of your password then change it; the more complex the better! Nobody wants to see Password1 pop up on your login credentials.
- If you are alerted to updates and patches in your system, get them sorted. We have all heard the horror stories about Windows XP; let’s not allow it to affect you or me.
So how do you make sure you are cyber security aware and are following the right processes? There is a simple ways: you can listen to the security professionals; they give some fantastic advice and are always there to help. If you don’t know where to turn, there are companies across the country who are focussed on providing training to organisations and individuals to make them more cyber security conscious.
Recently in Wales (remember my last article stating it’s the new hub for cyber? I wasn’t lying!) there’s a new start-up called HutSix entering the industry, aiming to improve cyber security awareness with their bespoke training campaigns. Simon Fraser (Managing Director for HutSix) sees the importance of raising awareness and believes that, “Living in a digitally connected world comes with plenty of benefits, however the risks are an unavoidable reality. It is no longer optional to be ignorant of basic information security principles. Yours and your loved ones' privacy and valuable personal data are at risk if you do not raise your level of information security awareness.”
It’s great that there are more companies not just defending against attacks but trying to raise awareness of cyber security. Ultimately this, along with a strong security defence, is going to help companies and people to become more secure. Next time you are wondering if you are secure; Stop. Think. Connect!