Cyber General Advice

Posted by Chris

Cyber Attacks are socially or politically motivated attacks that are carried out primarily through the internet. Attacks are generally targeted at either the general public or national and corporate organisations. These are carried out through the spread of malicious programmes (viruses), unauthorised web access, fake websites and other means of stealing personal or institutional information from the targets of the attacks. It’s important that people take cyber security seriously to avoid the loss of data, money or both. Individuals and families need to consider this when using computers at home and in open areas especially when accessing unsecure networks and websites.

The vast majority of cyber-attacks are relatively easy to prevent by implementing some simple safety measures. By doing this we can all enjoy and benefit from the amazing resources available online. Simple steps to increase cyber security:

  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Be sure to download software updates (including all applications, programmes, operating systems and security software)

If it’s too good to be true, stop and THINK

Use strong unique passwords:

Do not use the same password for everything! Most commonly used passwords 2019:

  1. 123456 (23.2m)
  2. 123456789 (7.7m)
  3. 123456 (23.2m)
  4. qwerty (3.8m)
  5. password (3.6m)
  6. 1111111 (3.1m)

Use this website to see how long it would take a computer to crack your password…

Secure connections:

If the URL at the top of your browser starts ‘http://’ then your connection is not secure. It is only secure if the URL will start with ‘https://’. The ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’.

Phishing emails or texts:

These emails or texts are written to cause a sense of panic, or curiosity. They will normally imply a sense of urgency, in order to trick the recipient in to acting without thinking. Some examples are:

  1. Informing you that there has been unauthorised activity on your account or that an account has been locked or closed.
  2. A message to say you have won some sort of prize
  3. Asking you to confirm your credentials for security reasons
  4. An unknown attachment/link that you are asked to click on

Most common emails/texts come from: your bank, a utility company, or a prize email. Usually, the emails request you to click a link, respond or fill in some of your personal information. Never type your details, passwords or personal information into an unknown website. However, there are some things to look out for to help spot a phishing email/text:

  1. Poor spelling or grammar
  2. Check the email address is one you usually receive emails from
  3. Hover your mouse over any links - hovering your mouse over any links or buttons, without clicking. Causes a little box to appear. This box contains text that shows the real destination that button or link will take you to. If the link in that box doesn’t look like you’d expect, do not click it. If you are unsure call up the company you have received the email from to confirm it is legitimate.

Safe web surfing:

Cookies can be used for criminals to build a profile of you, be aware when clicking accept all.

  1. Use an anti-spyware program that scans for so called tracker cookies
  2. UK websites must gain your permission to enable cookies
  3. Secure and encrypt wireless networks when using WiFi (Wireless Internet access).

Online shopping:

  1. Do not use any websites you do not know. If you are unsure about the website, do some research on it
  2. Only pay with secure methods such as PayPal or credit cards online.
  3. Only use https:// browsers, ensure it includes the ‘S’ for secure.

Useful information can be found via the NCSC, (National Cyber Security Central) 10 steps to cyber security.

Further advice and advice for Businesses:

Useful information can be found via the NCSC, (National Cyber Security Central) 10 steps to cyber security.

Small businesses can look at the NCSCs Small Business Guide for help to keep your business safe.

Large organisations can look at the NCSC Large Business area

We would also draw your attention to the advice on the NCSC website to help organisations protect themselves against ransomware and phishing attempts.

Other useful guides are Get Safe Online and the NCSC Guide for individuals and families.

If you are a victim, ensure you report it to the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. Or you can ring 0300 123 2040.
Remember: If it’s too good to be true – then it probably is!

Cyber Security

There is plenty of guidance available. Advice can be found at:

If you are a victim, ensure you report it to the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre.