Cyber-attacks are on the increase. Individuals, small businesses and large corporate networks are targets, with cyber criminals taking advantage of our increasing reliance on technology – emails, online banking and website downloads, to name a few.
We live much of our lives online and we have become complacent. I am willing to bet that you have done at least one of the following:
- Entered your Facebook password whilst in a public space or on a shared network.
- Logged onto your internet banking whilst in a public space or on a shared network.
- Made a purchase using your credit card online whilst in a public space or on a shared network.
- Opened an email or followed a link from an unknown source.
If you have done any one of the above, you and your money would be open to the risk of an attack. So, what do you do to mitigate that risk, besides not doing any the above?
To put simply, risk cannot be 100% mitigated. Cyber criminals use sophisticated software and techniques to replicate their victims’ day-to-day online communications, thieve security details and hack electronic devices.
We make it easy for them by just doing what we do every day. You can, however, be aware and vigilant about the risks.
To help you, here is an IT expert’s guide to help you protect your money from Cyber Attack:
Types of Attack To Be Aware Of:
- Phishing – bogus emails/webpages asking for security information and personal details.
- Webcam manager – criminals take over your webcam.
- File hijacker – criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom.
- Keylogging – criminals record what you type on your keyboard such as online banking passwords.
- Screenshot manager – this allows criminals to take screenshots of your computer screen.
- Ad clicker – this allows a criminal to direct a victim’s computer to click a specific link.
In addition, if you own a business be aware of:
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks.
With mobile devices and 24-hour access to our online banking, e-commerce and social media sites, it is all too easy to type in passwords, enter contact details and make purchases without thinking. Before you do, consider the following:
7 Ways to Protect Your Money from Cyber Attack
1. Do not use public or shared Wi-Fi networks to share or input personal and banking details online.
Hackers can easily access information on your device through a shared network. If you need to share personal data whilst out and about, it is better to switch to your 4G.
But beware! Old fashioned methods such as peering over the shoulder still exist.
2. Where possible, use dual authentication to access your data.
For example, use both fingerprint and passwords to access your phone applications to protect your money from Cyber Attack. There are apps available for this.
3. Build up your trust around any email attachments.
Check the sender’s address (not just their name). Is it an address you know for them? Or does it just look very similar?
When you open the attachment do not click into ‘Edit Mode’ until you are happy that it is a document you are expecting to see.
Any document that tells you to ‘Enable Macros’ or ‘Enable Edit Mode’ when you open it, is dodgy.
If you are unsure about any email, check the details online – the chances are other people have received the same scam.
4. When opening anything from a USB stick that has come from another computer, make sure you virus scan the files first.
Open the files in Protected Mode until you are happy it is safe and do not leave USB drives plugged in for longer than you need them.
5. Avoid downloading any files from the web unless you absolutely need to.
To protect your money from Cyber Attack, always check the address you are downloading from to make sure you have not been redirected.
The only documents files you should be downloading end with: .docx, .xlsx, .zip, .pptx or .pdf – be wary of anything else, including media downloads – always check the source.
6. Run regular device updates.
Regular device updates are necessary if you want to protect your money from Cyber Attack.
The recent NHS cyber-attack was successful in part because many machines had not been updated in a long time. If you are prompted to update something, carry it out.
Do not simply ignore it or postpone (as so many of us are tempted to do).
7. Finally, back everything up.
What to Do When Hit By a Cyber Attack
So, what do you do first in the event of a cyber-attack?
- Do not panic.
- Isolate your machine.
- Take it off the network immediately, even if this means having to take a machine out of the Wi-Fi range.
- If you notice abnormal activity with your bank, contact the bank first.
- Contact your IT support and/or report the attack to Action Fraud; the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre in the UK.
Cyber-attacks on individuals and businesses will always be a risk. In the meantime, be vigilant and be aware.
Over to you – have you been the victim of a cyber-attack? Did you lose money? How did you deal with it? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you.
About the Author
Elizabeth Roberts is the relationship manager at Griffin Law, a niche litigation practice that gives expert advice to individuals and businesses who are involved in disputes of all kinds. Griffin Law can help you protect your personal information and/or business data and advise you on what to do in the event of any breach of that personal information/data. Click here for more information.