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Cyber Crime hotter than ever

With a lot of the world switching to purely remote or hybrid working, cyber threats on businesses have sky rocketed.

The scammers are having a field day and, if they can breach institutions like the NHS, Facebook and even compromise Microsoft’s software, it means that none of us is safe.

The financial outlay involved in protecting our businesses from cyber-attack is only one aspect; people need continually to be trained how to use the kit and what to watch out for from the invaders. As one expert put it, the reality is that every employee is now a “digital employee”, every business endeavor “has a technology component” and every budget is “an IT budget.”

We're all more familiar than we were with technology because of the pandemic, but this also means that the scams are becoming more and more sophisticated. Scammers are posing as CEOs, colleagues, and if you're not paying attention to the email addresses, its easy to get caught out.

What can you do? There are plenty of ways you can protect yourself from being caught out.

  • Know who you're dealing with

If you're concerned about an e-mail address, or notice that a colleague's e-mails don't sound how they normally would, query it. Call them up and check, best be safe than sorry.

  • Do not open suspicious texts, pop ups, or links

It sounds obvious, but sometimes they can be made to look so real and believable that it's difficult to pick out the scams. It's always best to run it by your IT department before you act on anything.

  • Choose your passwords carefully

A strong password will be your best friend, don't use easy or predictable words. An ideal password should have upper and lowercase letters, numbers and a special character if possible.

  • Keep your personal details safe

Make sure you keep your passwords and pin numbers safe, in work and outside of work. Social media can also be a very big give away for person details, so be careful what you're posting.

Some of the warnings are scary, but advice is readily available, and guidelines do exist (from the NCSC for example). Speaking for ourselves and having taken the decision to upgrade our IT structure prior to the pandemic, UnitBirwelco is already a cyber essentials certified company. Nevertheless, we must constantly engage our staff in training about phishing and scam-emails because we know that time is unlikely to stand still. We also know that burying your head in the sand is no defense against a problem that is not going away.

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