How to Deter Hackers and Protect Your Data

close up of a hand on a computer keyboard to depict a hacker hacking a system to access confidential data

While technology and the cloud have made our lives so much more convenient, especially when it comes to storing our information online, it has led to a different kind of crime that is becoming more and more of a problem the more reliant we become on our devices. We have all heard of cybercrime, even without realising as it has been in the news so often this past year, so it has never been a more important time to try and quench it.

The consequences of having your systems hacked are so much more than losing data and the monetary loss, it also means loss of the trust of your clients. So what can you do to protect yourself, your business and your clients?

5 Hacker Deterrents

1. Don’t share personal data on public WI-FI

We’ve all accessed public WI-FI when sitting in a coffee shop or waiting at the airport, and while this allows us to work or to Google things on the go, these kinds of connections offer minimal security.

Shot of a busy cafe

Always ask employees what the WI-FI is to check that you are connecting to the right one, take caution with what you’re accessing, and if you need to access sensitive work documents or share personal data, use a VPN.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) act as an intermediary between your device and the internet server, encrypting all of your activity and deterring potential hackers as they can’t see what you are doing.

2. Use advanced passwords and protect them

It’s good practice to use different passwords for everything, to make them difficult passwords containing numbers and special characters, and to regularly update them, but many of us know that this rarely takes place.

Important note: hackers know this too!

To make (and remember!) strong and difficult passwords that deter hackers, used a password manager such as LastPass that does it all for you! It generates difficult passwords for you, updates them, remembers them, and stores them all for you – problem solved!

Read: Password Security: 10 Tips to Keep Your Passwords Safe

A lock with computer code behind it

3. Always use two-factor authentication

After hackers have stolen data and passwords from big companies, the usual next port of call is to try their luck with the personal accounts of the employees. After all, it’s worth checking if they use the same passwords for those, isn’t it?

To deter this cybersecurity breach, always use two-factor authentication. By adding an extra step after the password entry, such as a code sent to your phone or email, hackers know that it would be near to impossible to gain access to these preventing them from trying in the first place.

4. Be wary of the cloud

I realise that this sounds like a mother’s warning falling on deaf ears, but it’s an important warning nonetheless. Put simply, if you don’t want people to access your information, don’t share it.

a laptop, book and phone locked in chains

While cloud storage is an invaluable tool when it comes to storage, if you don’t know how to use it, it can lead to many confidential files being shared online.

By all means, use it. Just be careful of what files you are storing, check where they are going, i.e will they be in a private or public folder, and always delete the backups of files that you want to be removed.

5. Be suspicious of unknown emails

Again, another warning that makes us sound like pessimists, but they are warnings for a reason.

Emails are the biggest gateway into hackers getting access to your data, so never ever open attachments that you are not 100% sure of where they came from and don’t click on links that you are not sure where they will lead to.

When one unsuspecting employee downloads a malicious virus-laden file, this can be enough to infiltrate the entire network, so always make sure your employees are educated on cybersecurity. Always make sure that they check the sender’s email address to see if it matches the accompanying website, look at the IP address and google it, and copy and paste a suspicious link into a separate browser so you can view the URL.

One of the most effective security methods in any business are deterrents as these can often prevent potential crimes from happening in the first place, so don’t dangle the keys to your business in front of a hacker with weak passwords and sharing files online. Keep everything as safe and secure as it can be with these 5 essential tips!

What we can do for you:

RGM Security offers a wide range of security services as well as penetration testing to check your defences and threat awareness training for your staff.  If you need training or just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Need more help or advice with your security? Check out our other useful articles:

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