Cybercrime, being a crime related to technology, computers and networks, is steadily on the rise in South Africa and it is essential that businesses upskill on cyber security to prevent cybercrime in their organisation or seek the assistance of experienced cyber security experts to address their cyber security needs by ensuring the right processes are put in place and that they are adhered to.
There are an unlimited number of ways, such as spamming and phishing, hacking, identity theft, social engineering, investment fraud and piracy to commit cybercrime but one can try and avoid or limit cybercrime in your business by adhering to some of the following basic tips:
- Become educated on cybercrime.
- Have your organisation’s computers configured securely by installing anti-virus software, by uninstalling unwanted software and by securing the web browser.
- When having security software installed, ensure that the software comes with a firewall to keep potential hackers out.
- Use encryption for your organisation’s most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records, make regular back-ups of all your important data, and if possible, store it in a different location.
- Ensure that the latest updates are downloaded on all the computers in your organisation to prevent hackers from getting access to your organisation’s and employees’ confidential information.
- Check your bank details and credit card statements on a regular basis.
- Ensure that all employees create a strong password for their computers and mobile devices and that they change them at least every second month.
- Have a step verification process in place to protect your organisation’s email and accounts whereby you and your staff are asked to enter a verification code sent to your phone via SMS.
- Always lock computers when walking away from your desk.
- Never leave mobile phones unattended and do not store passwords and pin numbers on a mobile.
- Do not just open any attachment sent to you by clicking on a link in an email and keep in mind that free applications can hide viruses.
- Avoid downloading unknown applications as they could potentially carry malicious applications with it and installing it may infect and cause serious damage to your computer and risk your organisation’s data integrity.
- When accessing your personal social media account, ensure your privacy settings are in place and keep your account locked at all times when unattended.
- When accessing your instant messenger account, do not click on a link that can direct you to a website that can ask for private information such as your name or password.
- When accessing the internet do not click on “pop ups” saying you have for example won a prize as by clicking on the “pop up” you may inadvertently download malicious software.
- Do not save your credit card details online.
- Avoid using public computers for sensitive business as someone, using the computer before you, may have downloaded a programme on the computer to record passwords.
- Avoid using public networks and connecting to free Wi-Fi from airports, coffee shops or other public places as hackers can easily get through the low-level security of these kinds of networks.
The above steps will go a long way to making an organisation less susceptible to cybercrime but the staff must remain vigilant and always need to think before making that click as a cyber-attack can have devastating effects on an organisation.
Article drafted by Natalie Gillmer.