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Cyber Security Tip – Number 1

Tip #1:  What is a strong password, and why do you need it?

Welcome to the first of our cyber security tips emails. Each week I will give you specific, actionable advice to help you avoid being the victim of a cyber crime. Yes – there are bad guys out there who want to steal from you. At a minimum they are going to cost you time, and it can be highly embarrassing. At worst, it can cost you thousands of pounds in hard cash, and possibly your job.

We all know that without password protection, nothing is safe but we frequently use insecure passwords to protect our valuable data and to provide access to our technology.

So get focused, here we go…


Background

Thanks to powerful brute-force-attack software readily available online, hackers can quickly and easily try tens of millions of possible password combinations per second. For example, hacking software can guess a five-character password in under three hours. If you only use lowercase letters, it’s 11.9 seconds!

You KNOW you need to have a better password than “password” or “letmein” if you have any hope of keeping hackers out, but what does a “strong” password mean? A good password should be at least eight characters long (or longer!) and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess. Don’t use dictionary words with proper capitalisation because they’re easy to guess (like Password123!). Even though it meets the requirements we just discussed, it’s easily hacked; remember, hackers have sophisticated password-hacking software that will run 24/7/365.

Action

How do your current passwords rate?

Next time, I will explain how to choose a good password. So this week’s action is to make a list of your online accounts that might have bad passwords (you will need this later).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Posted with permission by Vermont.co.uk.

The different types of malware: explained

Ever been infected by malware or a virus?

For most internet users, the answer is probably yes. But what is the difference between all the cyber threats out there? What makes a virus different from a trojan or worm? And how can you protect your critical data and your business from these threats? If you’ve never been able to answer these questions, here’s the explanation you’ve been waiting for.

The different types of malware: explained

Malware

Malware is the short version of the word malicious software. And this is a general term that encompasses many types of online threats including spyware, viruses, worms, trojans, adware, ransomware and more. Though you likely already know this, the purpose of malware is to specifically infect and harm your computer and potentially steal your information.

But how do the different types of malware differ from one another? How can you protect your business from them? Let’s take a look at four of the most common forms of malware below.

Virus

like a virus that can infect a person, a computer virus is a contagious piece of code that infects software and then spreads from file to file on a system. When infected software or files are shared between computers, the virus then spreads to the new host.

The best way to protect yourself from viruses is with a reliable antivirus program that is kept updated. Additionally, you should be wary of any executable files you receive because viruses often come packaged in this form. For example, if you’re sent a video file, be aware that if the name includes an “exe” extension like .mov.exe, you’re almost certainly dealing with a virus.

Spyware

Just like a spy, a hacker uses spyware to track your internet activities and steal your information without you being aware of it. What kind of information is likely to be stolen by Spyware? Credit card numbers and passwords are two common targets.

And if stealing your information isn’t bad enough, Spyware is also known to cause PC slowdown, especially when there is more than one program running on your system – which is usually the case with a system that’s infected.

A common mistake many people make is they assume their antivirus software automatically protects them from Spyware. This is not always true as some antivirus isn’t designed to catch spyware. If you’re unsure if your antivirus prevents Spyware, get verification from your vendor. And for those that are already suffering from Spyware infestation, two programs that work wonders to clean it out are Eset Antivirus and Malwarebytes.

Worms

Similar to viruses, worms also replicate themselves and spread when they infect a computer. The difference, however, between a worm and a virus is that a worm doesn’t require the help of a human or host program to spread. Instead, they self-replicate and spread across networks without the guidance of a hacker or a file/program to latch onto.

In addition to a reliable antivirus software, to prevent worms from infecting your system you should ensure your firewall is activated and working properly.

Trojan

Like the trojan horse from ancient greek mythology, this type of malware is disguised as a safe program designed to fool users, so that they unwittingly install it on their own system, and later are sabotaged by it. Generally, the hacker uses a trojan to steal both financial and personal information. It can do this by creating a “backdoor” to your computer that allows the hacker to remotely control it.

Similar to the other malware mentioned above, antivirus software is a dependable way to protect yourself against trojans. For further safety, it’s wise to not open up suspicious attachments, and also ensure that your staff members aren’t downloading any programs or applications illegally at the office – as this is a favorite place hackers like to hide trojans.

Curious to learn more about malware that can cause trouble for business owners? Want to upgrade your existing network security system? Give us a call today, 07769 110272, we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from Vermont.co.uk. Source.