Cybersecurity – A Growing Concern

Cybersecurity – A Growing Concern

Cybersecurity – what should you do as an individual employee?

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for companies everywhere. The Office for National Statistics estimates that there were 3.8 million cases of cybercrime in the UK in the 12 months to June 2016, including 2.4 million cases of phishing, around 700,000 cases of cyber fraud and almost 500,000 cases of people losing money through hacking and/or computer viruses. Research by internet service provider Beaming suggests 2.9 million UK companies fell victim to cybercrime in 2016, collectively losing more than £29 billion as a result.

Whether you work for a large multinational or a very small company, then it is likely that the issue of cybersecurity is discussed at the highest level within the company.

It is for a company’s management, and its IT consultants, to decide exactly what cybersecurity measures are necessary and proportionate. However, even if you don’t hold a senior position in the company, then you still can’t afford to neglect this issue.

Lock up everything you possibly can when it’s not in use. This means locking doors of rooms left unoccupied, locking your desk when you leave it, locking up the office if you are the last one out, and locking your work PC.

Choose a ‘strong’ password. Ideally this should be one that includes both upper and lower case letters, numbers and other keyboard symbols. Don’t just use the word ‘password’ as your access to IT systems! Don’t write your password down on a note which you then leave on the desk – if you can’t remember your password easily then keep a note of it inside a lockable desk.

Watch for ‘phishing’ emails and calls. Any communication that asks you to provide your password, bank account number, credit card number etc. is almost certainly a scam. The sender may however have gone to great lengths to make it look as if the email has been sent by your bank, or by another legitimate organisation.

Don’t reply to spam. Any promotional email which you or the company clearly did not ask to receive could be classed as ‘spam’. Don’t reply to these, even to ask for no more mailings, as replying can lead to many more spam messages being received.

Shred paper waste. When paperwork that contains sensitive or confidential information is no longer required, place it in the shredder rather than in the waste paper basket.

Report any suspicions. If you notice anything that looks suspicious when using your work PC, report it immediately to your boss or the IT function.

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