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Building resilience by improving cyber security

News   •   May 17, 2017 17:00 BST

The recent ransomware attacks affecting about 200,000 networks across 150 countries, including the NHS in the UK, is a stark reminder, as if one were needed, of just how great the cyber threat is.

Our modern world is heavily reliant on IT systems, and although these systems provide many benefits, they also have their pitfalls. Research conducted by the Business Continuity Institute presents the inevitability of an attack with the Cyber Resilience Report showing that two-thirds of organizations had experienced an incident during the previous year, and 10% had experienced at least ten.

Collectively we must do more to make our organizations more cyber secure. While there are mechanisms that organizations can put in place to improve cyber security, there are also steps that individuals can take. Several studies have shown that the insider threat is as much of a concern as external threats. This may not necessarily be down to malicious activity, or even negligence, sometimes it could just be down to a simple mistake.

In a new paper published by the BCI – Building resilience by improving cyber security – it is revealed that several activities which many of us perform out of habit could be making our organizations more vulnerable to the cyber threat, and identifies six simple steps that each of us can take to help improve security.

  1. Use strong passwords – A study showed that ‘123456’ was the most common password used among a given sample, and the rest of the top twenty weren’t much better. By using weak passwords it makes it far easier for intruders to gain access to our systems.
  2. Keep passwords safe – It’s all very well having a strong password, but if we’re writing that password down on a post-it note and leaving it next to our computer then we are leaving ourselves extremely vulnerable.
  3. Lock unattended computers – With studies showing the insider threat to be as much of a concern as external threat, we need to be more careful of who has access to our computers.
  4. Be cautious of public Wi-Fi – By accessing a public network, you are also potentially allowing that network, and anyone on it, access to your computer. If you are on public Wi-Fi, use a VPN to help improve security, and don’t share sensitive information.
  5. Don’t plug in untrusted devices – The report revealed that even devices from reputable sources can contain malware, so never plug an untrusted device into your computer.
  6. Don’t click on unknown links – Many attacks such as ransomware take place because users have clicked on a link they shouldn’t have and invited the intruders in. We must develop a culture whereby we think twice before clicking on links, however enticing they may appear.

Download your free copy of 'Building resilience by improving cyber security' by clicking here.

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