Following last Friday’s global cyber attack, UK-based event technology supplier RefTech has compiled a checklist for individuals and companies to follow to help them reduce the risk of future attacks.
RefTech chief ideas officer Simon Clayton said: “Friday’s cyber attack is set to escalate this week as more companies discover that they have been affected. The repercussions of the attack are likely to continue for some time; it is a massive demonstration of what can happen if you are not security conscious and highlights that even the biggest organisations are vulnerable.”
Clayton offers the check list below, setting out simple steps that will help individuals and companies reduce the risk of future attacks of this nature:
On your personal computer:
1. Make sure you install operating system updates when they’re made available
2. Make sure you have good anti-virus software installed and it’s regularly updated
3. Backup all the data on your computer regularly
4. Never open an email attachment that you’re not expecting even if it seems to be from a reliable source such as tax authorities, banks, delivery companies, and so on
5. Never click on a web link in an email from an unknown contact
6. Make sure your passwords are strong*
7. Use a different password for each online system you use
8. If you’re offered two factor authentication for using an online system, use it.
Clayton adds that, if you run a company, your IT system is almost certainly too important for you to be able to say, ‘We have an IT manager – all this stuff is their responsibility’. He says you need to be as involved in this as you are in other activities that the business depends on for its survival. Specifically, you need to:
1. Take IT security seriously. Imagine what would happen to your company if your computer network was knocked out for a couple days. Worse still, what would happen if you lost all of the company data and couldn’t recover it?
2. Make sure a named individual in the company has the clear responsibility for backing up your systems at least every night
3. Make sure they are doing it
4. Make sure they test the backups regularly to prove that the backups can be used if the worst happens
5. Make sure a named individual in the company has the clear responsibility for updating your PC and servers’ operating systems
6. Make sure they’re doing it
7. Make sure that every computer that’s linked to your network (including computers not owned by the company) has the latest security patches installed
8. Make sure all those computers have good anti-virus software installed and that it’s kept up to date
9. Make sure everybody in the company follows point 4 to 8 above.
*For more information about how to create a strong password, please download RefTech’s free white paper: http://www.reftech.com/passwords.php