Use a Firewall

A firewall is designed to protect one computer network from another. They are used between areas of high and low trust, like a private network and the internet. Firewalls offer protection by controlling traffic entering and leaving a network. The firewall does this using a set of filters or rules that are set by the user to allow or block particular types of traffic. A firewall can help protect against hackers accessing your systems if correctly set up.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Make sure all important and sensitive data is encrypted so if it is accessed or stolen it cannot be read. Encryption solutions can take many forms and are dependent on what type of data is being encrypted and how the data is being used, stored or transferred.

Keep Software Updated

It is important to make sure any software on your computers, systems and mobile devices is kept up to date as its designers are constantly updating it to keep it secure as new vulnerabilities are discovered. This is done by downloading updates or “patches” from the software developer when prompted. This can often be done automatically, but you may have to select this option within the software tools. It is also important to make sure that up to date software is used as older software may be redundant and not have update support. This means that any new vulnerabilities found by cyber criminals will not be fixed leaving the software at risk of attack.

Have Strong Passwords

Often IT system security is breached because a default password on software or hardware, such as router, is not changed. It is important that all default passwords are changed as soon as practicable.

There are a number of general rules regarding passwords that will make them more secure:

  • Make a password as long as possible, the more characters it has the harder it is to crack.
  • Use different types of characters including numbers, symbols and punctuation marks.
  • Try not to include dictionary words in your password as this makes them easier to crack. If you are to use words for ease of remembering, replace a letter with a similar symbol such as an “a” with an “@” or an “s” with a “$”.
  • Consider using a pass phrase with three random words together such as “boatcupdoctor” or maybe lyrics from a favourite song such as “startspreadingthenews”.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts. If one password is compromised, then at least only one account can be hacked.
  • Try to avoid using personal information such as birthdays, favourite sports teams or children/pet names. These can often be discovered by cyber criminals from information you have posted online, so should not be used.