The first line of defense in the war against cybercrime is you and your employees. Let’s start at the beginning, what is this cybersecurity that we are hearing about from our peers, tv and social media?  Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your computers, systems and networks from digital attacks.  These attacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing or destroying sensitive information, extorting money from people or interrupting normal business processes.   Below are 5 ways you can keep yourself and your business safe from cyber attacks

  1. Download and install Windows updates:  Even though you hate to do it, you should be sure to download the most recent updates for your operating system and applications.  These updated also have the newest security patches for the most recent strands of attacks.  Windows 10 is twice as safe as Windows 7.
  2. Password Safety:  Avoid sharing your password with your coworkers, even if they promise they won’t tell anyone! Also, when setting your password, make sure it isn’t something people may guess such as your pet’s name. Using a mixture of letters, numbers and upper and lower case characters is good. Passphrases are the best way to create the most secure passwords.  Check how secure your password is at
  3. Be careful what links you click on:  Avoid clicking links on a link in an email.  Instead, you should hover over them and see where they go. Cybercriminals have been known to hack into your friends’ email accounts and social networks to send emails or post messages claiming they are in trouble and asking you to transfer them money. Don’t believe it if it sounds suspicious or offers something unrealistic.  When in doubt, throw it out!  If you get an email requesting financial information, confirm the details by calling your bank instead of relying on email to initiate or complete any financial transaction.
  4. What goes online, stays online:   Use privacy settings to make sure only your friends, family, colleagues can see the information you post. If you are on Facebook you go through the security settings to have your account as secure as you want.  Avoid posting holiday plans as criminals have been known to track your movements.
  5. Back up your files:  Whether you choose an online backup solution or a local backup system, you should have one of these in place. Remember, if your computer gets hit with ransomware, the only safe backup is one that is NOT attached to your computer. An attached external hard drive will be infected. Cloud backup solutions are the most secure.

Cybersecurity scams are becoming so convincing whether you receive one in email or get a phone call.  If you have any question, or something just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and either send the suspicious email to your IT consultant right away.

Content provided by Women Belong member Karen Sanders