5 ways to minimise cyber security risk during the holiday season

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During the holiday season, members of staff may find themselves travelling and working from unfamiliar locations. As the mobile workforce increases, employees will often work with personal devices on hand. Staff could be accessing company systems and platforms on unsecured networks which could lead to increased risks for your business.

Here are some of our tips on how to stay safe this holiday season.

Be cautious of public Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi may seem convenient, but it is especially susceptible to security breaches. Hackers can target business travellers by creating a Wi-Fi option that is remarkably similar to the one available on-premises. Once the hack is complete, they will have access to your information, passwords, email addresses and social media accounts.

Tip: Have secure access systems established for remote working across your team. Additionally, you should encourage your staff to stay clear of encrypted Wi-Fi networks, including those found in free Wi-Fi hotspots and cafes. We can also set up a VPN to ensure remote login is secure at all times.

Use a personal charger

Business travellers could be targeted by hackers who have implanted Malware into the charging cords of USB stations, according to Vyas Sekar, a professor from a security and privacy research institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  This enables them to access sensitive information from mobiles. The most frequent locations for this kind of attack are busy places like airports and railway stations.

Tip: Remind staff to take chargers with them when they travel. Advise them not to charge their electronics via a public USB charging station.

Avoid using Bluetooth

Researchers from CISPA (Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability) discovered that it was possible to intercept a Bluetooth connection between two devices. This means that hackers would be able to view all data being transmitted between the two devices. Even a brief interaction can enable malware on a device, putting your business confidentiality and finances at risk.

Tip: Run an education session with your team highlighting the risks of using Bluetooth. Encourage them to turn it off when out in public places.

Update regularly

An easy and common way for hackers to compromise your system is to exploit known vulnerabilities in commonly installed software like Adobe Reader or Windows. Once breached, the hacker can easily access your company’s usernames and passwords for important documents and emails.

Tip: Remind teams to regularly update anti-virus software. It’s vital to inform staff of the dangers of running updates from unsecured networks. Running an IT drop-in session with staff can also be an effective solution.

Prepare in case of theft

Theft will happen on occasion, but implementing effective practises in anticipation of and in the aftermath, limits the risks to your business. The value of your data will far outweigh the value of the device in question so training staff equally on the topic of specialist security topics is essential.

Tip: In the event of a breach, you can enable your software to be wiped remotely. In some circumstances, you can even add software that tracks the device or accesses the camera so you can see who has your device.

Although there is always a risk of hackers attacking your devices, this risk increases significantly when devices are being used in unfamiliar locations and linked to new network sources. So if you have staff that will be travelling and working from new places over the holiday season, ensure they are educated on these safety procedures.

Accreditations like Cyber Essentials and Information Security Systems (ISO) are excellent options to make sure your business is robust this winter. Contact us to discuss which option is most suitable for your business.