Cyber Security

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…)

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.


How Instagram Could Be Damaging Your Mental Health

Instagram is the worst social media app for young people’s mental health, according to a survey where participants were asked to rate different social media sites for their impact on personal health and well-being.

On Instagram, youths may compare themselves to friends by looking at photos of a certain body image or social life.

In fact, the Royal Society for Public Health says that social media sites, such as Instagram, may be the reason for a higher prevalence of mental health issues in today’s youth. Luckily, there are several ways to minimise mental health problems caused by social media: (more…)

The Popular Social Media Post That Makes You Vulnerable to Hackers

A recent popular Facebook post asks users to provide a list of 10 concerts, and then challenges the user’s friends to guess the concert that they haven’t attended. While this type of post can resurface unforgettable memories of past concerts, it can also open the door for cyber criminals to steal your information.

Often, websites ask security questions to recover your password: one of which may ask about your first concert. Accurately responding to this question, then revealing the answer publicly on social media allows thieves to more easily breach your account and steal personal information. (more…)

WannaCry Highlights Why You Should Prepare For Ransomware

WannaCry, a ransomware program that targets a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows, has spread across 150 countries and infected more than 230,000 computers since it was launched on 12th May. It disrupted many NHS hospitals in England and Scotland, infecting up to an estimated 70,000 devices, including computers, MRI scanners, blood-storage refrigerators and theatre equipment.

The danger that the ransomware program poses is based partially on how invasive it is. After infecting just one computer, WannaCry can spread to every device in a network within seconds. It works by locking users out of their computers before demanding money to regain control of their data. Initially, WannaCry requires about £230, but, if no payment is made within three days, it then threatens to double the amount. If no payment is made within that time, the ransomware program then threatens to delete the files after seven days. (more…)

How To Hack-Proof Your Smartphone

Millions of us carry around our personal data within our phones, and some make it easier to hack than others.

To access your personal stored information, including bank details and your address, all a hacker needs is your phone. If this is not adequately secured, their mission is even easier. Of the principle causes of security breaches, unsecured mobile phones are among the top seven. But with this advice from Bennett Christmas, yours doesn’t have to be.

The more you leave your Bluetooth connected, the more opportunity you provide unwarranted access. Make sure it’s turned off if you’re not using it.

It can be tempting to hook up to whatever network is going to allow you to connect. But beware – unsecured public networks can be a portal for an underworld of snoopware and spam. It’s better to log on to a secured network, such as that which you would find in a coffee shop, or use your cellular data. And avoid checking your bank account when you’re on the fly to keep your bank details safe.

Wake-Up Call For Businesses After NHS Hit With Ransomware Attack

Over the last 48 hours, news headlines have been dominated by the ransomware attack which has affected some NHS services and numerous other organisations around the world.

Ransomware is a form of virus that encrypts your files, making them inaccessible. The criminals behind the attack then demand a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key that will restore access.

As with other types of virus, ransomware is typically spread via emails which spoof high profile brands.

All users are reminded not to click email hyperlinks or attachments unless you know the sender and were expecting the message. (more…)

Your Selfie Could Open the Door to Criminals

While social media can be a valuable tool for entertainment and communication, it can also open the door to crime. When you share pictures of your location or possessions on social media, you enable criminals to target you for criminal behaviour.

None of your social media posts are ever truly private. And can you really trust all of your ‘friends’ on social media networks? With that in mind, follow these tips to stay safe while enjoying social media: (more…)