Technology expert shares his top tips on how to stay safe online as part of Virgin Media’s cybersecurity awareness talk
12 October 2021: High profile ransomware attacks over the last year have put cybersecurity on the top of the agenda. Virgin Media’s cybersecurity awareness campaign is offering practical advice to people looking to protect themselves online.
Colin Baker, Managing Director of Back to the Future, and regular contributor on Ireland AM, has offered some of his best advice to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Some of Colin’s recommendations include:
- Do not let curiosity about that scam texts or emails get the better of you. Err on the side of caution and never click links sent to you - go direct to the source and manually sign in if you think it’s genuine.
- All your smart devices will have updates available – Use them! They are there to patch vulnerabilities and bolster your security.
- Match your security to the value of your data. If you have a lot of sensitive data, a decent managed security package is vital. If not, a free anti-virus like Microsoft’s own “Defender” should suffice.
- Keep your important files in at least 2 places. This can be a weekly backup of files you can’t afford to lose onto a hard drive or investing in a service like Synology NAS cloud drive that intelligently backs up your whole office for you.
- Declutter your computer and have it serviced annually to double its lifespan and to make sure there are no vulnerabilities leaving you open to cyber-attack.
For businesses, there’s an even greater need for protection from cyberattack.
Baker explains: “The data you have, the contacts, emails, CRM entries, invoices, bills, receipts, is like the blood that runs through the veins of your business.”
Yet, safeguarding this data is getting harder and harder for businesses, Baker adds: “In the last 6 months alone ransomware attacks to SME’s in Ireland have grown 40%.”
Some of Baker’s top tips for business owners are:
- Make sure the whole team is aware of the risks, and how they appear, and is operating safely online through regular training or even by testing your workforce with fake spoof emails.
- Your “endpoints” are the phones, tablets or computers where your staff access your IT systems. Make sure to keep them up to date and invest in Endpoint protection and intelligent threat detection technology which pre-empts issues and detects unusual activity that might be a threat.
- Protect your data from ransomware through a backup service like a Synology encrypted NAS drive which from as little as €800 keeps data safe from infection and allows you to restore all data with minimal business interruption if you do get attacked.
- Cyberattacks target businesses more than individuals, so invest in professional grade IT infrastructure such as a hardware firewall and a professional network cabinet setup rather than a consumer grade WiFi router. Consider factory refurbished if budget is an issue.
- It’s better to pay for IT support and protection against attacks than trying to claw back your data after an attack. Shop around and hire a competent dedicated IT professional or employ the services of an IT support company.