June 13, 2017

Cyber Crime Prevention: 9 Effective Ways to Stop It

Business leaders today are being urged to build better human firewalls as cyber crime incidents continue to rise. Security experts identify people as the biggest targets (and weakest link) in the corporate cyber security chain.  

According to market intelligence company Cybersecurity Ventures  cyber crime damages will double by 2021.

In the workplace, a culture of security helps prevent cyber crime. There should be someone in charge of security, comprehensive data security policies and procedures, and ongoing employee education.

The good news is that when cyber crime prevention becomes a habit, it will be practiced outside the workplace too.  

9 cyber crime prevention tips

Protect computer systems. Security software essentials include firewall and antivirus programs. Keep all programs updated and patched. A Get Safe Online survey showed that consumers only update their security software every 8.5 months.

Use strong passwords. Strong passwords have eight characters or more and a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Keep passwords in a safe place, and don’t use the same one for every service and account. Change passwords every 90 days.   

Avoid public Wi-Fi. Never make online payments, send confidential information, or introduce important account passwords when using public Wi-Fi. Cyber criminals create networks that look like free internet but allow the criminals access to your data.

Don’t trust unsolicited emails and text messages.  Never click on a link, image or video that has been received from an unknown sender. Check that emails are legitimate – red flags include spelling mistakes, poor grammar, odd phrasing, and urgent requests for money or action. Verify correspondence by contacting the sender directly. Check that websites are legitimate too (malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL often has a variation in spelling or a different domain). In the 2016 Cybersecurity Trend Report, 65% of professionals worry about how criminals are using phishing and social engineering to launch data breaches.

Protect personal information on social media. Information thieves use social media to collect personal details that they can then use in phishing scams. Think twice before sharing personal information such as your name, home address, phone number, and email address.

Restrict physical access to sensitive information. At home, shut down your computer when you aren’t there. Lock mobile devices, and encrypt confidential data to keep it secure.

Be careful with all devices. Phones and other mobile devices are big targets. Always be aware of where mobile devices are; never leave them unattended and in sight.

Regularly review bank and credit card statements. Research has shown you can reduce the impact of identity theft and online crimes by catching it quickly.  

Do not stockpile computers or hoard digital data. Keep digital data filed and current – purge files regularly. Have old or unused computer hard drives securely destroyed in your workplace.

Use a Clean Desk Policy to protect confidential information at work and at home - get started with this free guide.

Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and data security survey.