October is officially European Cybersecurity Awareness Month. #CyberSecMonth is a month long campaign promoting cyber security among citizens and organizations highlighting the importance of information security. The campaign highlights the simple steps that can be taken to protect data, whether personal, financial or professional. The campaign started in 2012 as a pilot project across Europe where participating countries took part in various activities to produce a combined synthesis of the findings, in which can be found on the ECSM website.
In 2019 the general message of the campaign is that cyber security is a shared responsibility. Cifas echoes this message as we rely on the collaboration of our member’s data to prevent billions of pounds worth of fraud each year.
Cyber hygiene is one of the particular focuses of the campaign, looking at establishing and maintaining daily routines, checks and general behaviours needed to ensure your organisation is staying safe online. When it comes to cyber hygiene there are some simple things that can save your organisation from future blunders.
Using a weak password is the equivalent of using a weak lock for your front door – neither is a problem for a criminal to break. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to begin using a password manager tool. A password manager helps keep store of passwords and helps create strong new ones for every different site you use. Check out this previous blog where our Head of Fraud Intelligence offers her best tips for eliminating your digital footprint and staying safe online.
Social engineering is when criminals use manipulation tactics to acquire personal information. This can be done over the phone, email, or sometimes in person. Having open conversations with employees about what red flags to watch out for can slow down the criminal in time to eliminate the risk.
Fraudulent emails can be one of the most dangerous types of fraud risks. In some cases all it takes is a click of a link in an email for the fraudster to obtain your personal information or data from your organisation. It’s important to educate employees of the risk of clicking links in emails.
Phishing red flags to watch out for:
For more check out our recent blog post we published in collaboration with City of London Police about not taking the bait and avoid phishing emails.
Vulnerabilities in technology are always being discovered and in response, vendors regularly issue security updates to plug the gaps. Applying these updates - a process commonly known as patching - closes vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. This is not just something that can be done through technology, but can be a process exercised in organisations by ‘patching your people’. This can be done by making sure that employees are educated around the potential risks of fraud. Cultivating a no blame culture in the workplace helps employees to ask questions and come forward about mistakes, which can in turn save an organisation a lot of agony in the long run. The National Cyber Security Centre has produced a free online training package that is written for a non-technical audience.
Top tips to secure your business:
It’s also worth getting a second opinion – hiring security experts to penetration test your systems can help you understand where your defences work well and where they don’t. It’s better to find any gaps before the criminals do.
As the UK’s leader in fraud prevention we naturally have a strong focus on security at all levels, from cyber-security to physical safety. Some of things we do to stay secure are simple enough that almost every organisation can do themselves, but we also go further:
For more information on European Cybersecurity Awareness Month and their current campaign please visit their website at cybersecuritymonth.eu.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud.
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