Cyber Security is a growing nightmare. Businesses are losing money every day through Cyber Attacks. But you can add much more protection to your business and often for free. In this blog I will show you my four top tips to stay cyber secure.
My first tip is to use two-factor authentication on every cloud system that you have.
I really get on my soapbox about this one because it's just so easy to do and yet so few people actually do it.
In case you didn't know, two-factor authentication or 2FA or MFA is when you enter your username and password to log into an application online, but you also need a code from an app on your smartphone.
The idea is that even if your username and password gets into the hands of a cyber attacker, without the code on your phone they won't be able to access.
So it's like a second layer of authentication - so do you know understand the name? two-factor?
Microsoft recently said that if you have 2FA enabled, the chances of your application getting hacked are reduced by 99.9%.
They're quite good odds. I will take 99.9% And the cherry on top of all this - 2FA is free. It didn't cost a penny.
The 2FA app that I recommend is called Authy. I use this myself and it's great. And it doesn't cost you anything.
So what can you use 2FA on? Well, you name it.
Personally you can use it on all of your social media applications - Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram.
You can use it on paypal and Amazon.
You can use it on just about anything you log onto. It's really worth doing.
The next recommendation I have is that you protect your passwords getting into the hands of cyber criminals in the first place.
How do we do this?
Well, it's as easy as this...
Create a really long and complex password for each of the cloud applications that you use and you've got to make sure that each password is unique, so don't use the same one.
So you're going to end up with about 20 really long and complex passwords and you have to remember them all.
It's not that easy really is it?
But you see, that's what we need to do with our passwords because if a password is easy to guess, then it's easy to hack....
Just as a side note - if you want to see how good your existing password is, and how easy it would be for a hacker to crack, visit this site
So how do we make sure that all of our passwords are complex and unique and that we can remember them?
We need something called a password manager.
A password manager becomes our password brain. It helps us set these long and complex passwords for us and then stores them in an encrypted vault... it means we don't have to remember a password ever again. Problem solved.
The password manager that I recommend is called Keeper Security.
Keeper Security is an ultra secure and cloud-based system that stores your passwords. Everything is encrypted, and only you can access your password vault - not even Keeper can access it.
Now, Keeper Security isn't a free product, but it's very cost effective.
If you're a business, I advise that you provide a Keeper license to every member of staff and get them used to storing their complex business passwords inside of keeper - because let's face it, it's your business email system that will be getting hacked into.
Also, Keeper Security also have personal and family editions. I am a firm believer that Cyber security starts at home.... and that you should be bringing your children up to value cyber security....
My next recommendation is another free one and it's called DNS filtering - but don't be alarmed by how technical this sounds. Let me explain....
DNS filtering prevents your computer of smartphone from accessing malicious websites and helps filter out harmful content - easy yes? But how does it work?
Well humans are good at remembering the names of websites, sites like Google and BBC - we rarely forget the name of a website.
But computers are the opposite, they don't understand names of websitess, they understand numbers and these numbers are called IP addresses.
So your favourite websites are just really a unique set of numbers.
So when we go to a website on our laptops or phones and type in a website address, then that is when a service called DNS kicks in, DNS translates words into numbers.
We type in our desired website name and DNS then goes away and says - what is the IP address for this word? The website then shows. This obviously happens very quickly.
So back to our DNS filtering service - it works like this.
We type in the name of a website, or we might click on a website link in an email and the DNS filter finds the IP address and also checks it's naughty website list, known as the black list. If the website is harmful for your computer, it will tell you so and prevent you from accessing it.
No, you don't want to go there, it's dangerous.
So we know understand DNS filtering, what service do I recommend?
There is a company called Quad9 who are dedicated to cyber security and privacy. They offer a free DNS filtering service that works on Windows and Apple computers. It's really easy to use and setup, so go ahead and do that.
My 4th and final recommendation is to use a really good anti-virus software. This has been a basic security recommendation for as along as I have worked in tech - and that is a long time.
But it's still as important as ever.
But here is something that a lot of people don't understand. The sophistication of cyber attacks has now been taken to another level. Think about ransomware for example. It didn't exist a few years ago.
And the thing is, the basic anti-virus programmes that we've relied on for years can't spot ransomware attacks.
So you need a modern and robust anti-virus solution that can do all the basics, but can also look after you when it comes to the sophisticated attacks.
For this, I recommend Sophos. Sophos have been around for donkeys years as a security company and are widely regarded as one of the best security companies in the whole wide world.
Sophos have products for business and products for home users too, so once again you can protect your business and your family. Win win.