Cyber Attack? It’ll never happen to my business, right?

Well actually, if you’re a small business owner, the chances of being a victim of cyber crime is now higher than ever …

  • In 2016, 66% of small firms surveyed were victims of cyber crime
  • SMEs fell victim to seven million cyber crimes over 2014 and 2015
  • The total annual cost of cyber crime to SMEs over 2014 and 2015 was £5.26 billion
  • On average, SMEs will fall victim to four cyber crimes every two-year cycle

Federation of Small Businesses, Cyber Resilience Report 2016

Literally thousands of businesses suffer cyber-attacks daily and, whilst there have been some high-profile crimes, like the NHS’ WannaCry attack, you’d be wrong to think no-one’s interested in a small business like your’s.

Indeed, criminals are actively targeting SMEs because fewer processes make them vulnerable to human error, such as loss of confidential data and sensitive banking information. And attackers are using more and more sophisticated methods, from hacking into bank accounts, to duping businesses into transferring funds to them via fraudulent emails. (more…)

Understanding GDPR Consent

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or the Data Protection Bill, will come into force on 25 May 2018. Despite there being less than a year for UK organisations to become compliant, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has yet to finalise its consent guidance, which it plans to release in December. As the specifics surrounding consent requirements under the GDPR are still subject to change, it can be a challenge to know what proactive measures your organisation can take now.

Nevertheless, it’s expected that the central components of what is currently known about GDPR compliance will remain relatively unchanged when the official guidance is published by the ICO. For that reason, your organisation should review how it obtains customer consent to ensure that it meets the following GDPR requirements: (more…)

Safeguard against Record-breaking Rainfall this Winter

Nearly 17,000 homes and businesses flooded during the winter of 2015-16 and this winter could be worse. Britain is expected to experience unprecedented rainfall, with records to be broken by up to 30 per cent, according to the Met Office. What’s more, 1 in 6 UK properties are at risk for flooding, according to the Environment Agency, so it’s essential that you protect your home.

Even though floods cannot be completely avoided, there are easy and effective preventive measures that you can take now to minimise the potential damage. (more…)

Barking Dogs and CCTV are best deterrents, say ex burglars!

According to a panel of former criminals interviewed by Co-op Insurance, burglars are most likely to be put off breaking into homes by CCTV cameras and barking dogs.

Nearly half of the 12 former burglars asked said most thieves were opportunists simply wandering the streets. They would therefore avoid any difficult break-ins or ones which might attract attention.

For that reason, installing CTV cameras are a good deterrent for home burglaries and car theft, while loud barking dogs, strong heavy doors, a switched-on TV and locked UPVC windows would also put off potential thieves. (more…)

How to spot a Fake Phone Charger

Look on eBay and you can buy apparently by a Samsung charger for just over £1. This seems too good to be true given they’re listed elsewhere for just under £25, because it is.

Fake phone chargers are easy and cheap to get hold of. The trade off is that 99% of those sold online failed a basic safety test in an experiment carried out by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

What does this mean for you? The risk of damage to your phone, electrocution, burns and house fires, warned the London Fire Brigade.

They released a report around the dangers of counterfeit chargers after an investigation highlighted some potentially deadly faults.

“I was shocked at how potentially dangerous these chargers are,” fire investigator Andrew Vaughan–Davies said.

“There have been some near misses in the last few months and, unless people stop buying them, it’s only a matter of time before we are called to a fatal fire.

“For the sake of saving a few pounds is it worth putting the lives of your family at risk and taking the chance of potentially destroying your home?” (more…)

What the GDPR Means for Your Personal Data and Social Media Accounts

In less than one year, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force and significantly impact how companies are allowed to handle your personal information. Beginning on 25 May 2018, companies will be required to explicitly ask for your consent to collect and use your personal information. What’s more, if your information has been hacked, companies are required to inform you of the incident.

Additionally, the GDPR will afford you the ‘right to be forgotten’, which means that you can have your personal data erased from a database if there is no legitimate ground for the company to retain it. Legitimate grounds, as defined by the GDPR, include freedom of expression and scientific research. (more…)

6 Everyday Objects That Can Be Hacked

Cyber-criminals are resourceful and relentless. If you think your home is safe, think again. Here are six everyday objects that you may not realise are exposed to cyber-threats:

  1. Refrigerator: Smart refrigerators have a built-in computer that lets you view your calendar, write a grocery list, and even play music and videos. However, it can also allow cyber-criminals to gain access to your home’s internet, infiltrate your accounts and send out malicious emails.
  2. Printer: Cyber-criminals can gain access to your wi-fi printer and view what documents you have printed as well as gain access to any device linked to that printer.
  3. Teddy bears: Smart dolls and teddy bears have sensors installed in them that transmit data, such as audio recordings and a child’s vital signs. A hacker could not only gain access to the information stored inside the doll or bear, but also implant their own audio messages.
  4. Sat-nav: Whether it’s a stand-alone device or on your smartphone, cyber-criminals can track your movements through the sat-nav program or even alter the directions to your destination to one of their choosing.
  5. Car: Cyber-criminals can exploit vehicles’ wi-fi to change the radio station, work the windscreen wipers and—most frighteningly—cut the gearbox and disable the brakes.
  6. Smartwatch: As smartwatches are equipped with sensors to track movement, cyber-criminals can track your movements and figure out your PIN.