Are you on the cyber security naughty or nice list this year? 

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Along with all the joys of the holiday season, there are also a variety of cyber security risks that pop up at this time of year. Individuals and businesses need to be aware of these if they want to stay protected all year round, but where do you currently sit on Santa’s list? Are you following nice cyber security practices, or are going to wake up on Christmas day to a lump of coal? 

Let’s find out.

Naughty list: ignoring software updates

Santa would never allow his elves to work in their workshop with outdated tools, it’s bound to end in disaster. Well, the same goes for your devices. Ignoring software updates is a fast track to the naughty list. These updates often patch vulnerabilities that cyber criminals exploit. By neglecting them, you leave your digital chimney wide open for unwanted guests.

Every update addresses security loopholes and enhances overall performance. So, make sure you embrace those updates in 2024 and keep your digital home secure.

Nice list: regularly backing up your data

If you want a spot firmly on the nice list, then you need to regularly back up your data. Think of it as creating a copy – just in case the original is misplaced. Data loss can happen due to various reasons, from cyber attacks to hardware failures. By consistently backing up your data, you ensure that even if the Grinch steals your device, your important files remain safe and sound.

Naughty list: weak passwords

Using ‘password123’ or ‘qwerty’ as your password? Or perhaps a pet name and year you were born? It’s time to rethink your choices because weak password practices will undoubtedly land you on the naughty list. Cyber criminals have a knack for cracking simple passwords, granting them access to your personal information. In fact, they have technology that can run thousands of generated passwords based on the personal information you give them.

Choosing strong, unique passwords and updating them regularly is your ticket to the cyber security nice list. Consider using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as completely unrelated words. 

Nice list: two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication is the cyber security equivalent of Santa checking your ID before handing over the presents. It adds an extra layer of security by requiring not just a password, but also a secondary verification method, such as a code sent to your phone. By embracing 2FA, you make it significantly more challenging for cyber grinches to gain unauthorised access to your accounts.

Unfortunately though, it is still possible for a cyber criminal to get through 2FA with something called token theft. You can read more about that in our blog post ‘Token Theft: How Cybercriminals Are Bypassing Multi-Factor Authentication’ 

Naughty list: clicking recklessly on unknown links

Imagine opening presents without checking who they’re from – a risky move, right? Now imagine that this could also lead to business disruption and a loss of finance. You’d soon start reading the label. Whether it’s in emails or on social media, cyber criminals often disguise malicious links as innocent ones, waiting for unsuspecting users to take the bait.

Always verify the sender or source before clicking on any links. You can do this by hovering over links to preview the URL, and if something seems fishy, steer clear. You want to look out for spelling errors, unnecessary words, or letters that look unusual. Falling into the trap of clicking recklessly is a sure way to find yourself on the naughty list of cyber security mishaps.

Nice list: practising safe browsing habits

To stay on the nice list, practise safe browsing habits. This includes verifying website security (look for ‘https’), being cautious with downloads, and avoiding suspicious websites. If something looks unusual – like missing images, strange fonts or spelling mistakes, the website could be dodgy.

Naughty list: neglecting privacy settings

Santa doesn’t share his list with just anyone, and neither should you with your personal information. Cyber criminals often exploit publicly available information for targeted attacks, so it’s crucial to control who sees what. 

Regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and other online accounts. Only share information with those you trust, and be mindful of the digital footprints you leave behind.

If you’re the type to post information about your birth date, pet’s name, school or university, home address, or anything else personal, then your profile should always be set to private. 

Nice list: regular penetration tests

Performing regular penetration tests is a proactive approach that earns you a spot on the nice list. Just as Santa checks his sleigh before takeoff, you should routinely check your digital environment for vulnerabilities. This includes reviewing device settings, monitoring account activities, and ensuring that your cyber security tools are up-to-date.

By conducting regular penetration tests, you stay ahead of potential threats and maintain a robust digital defence system, as you can fix any holes before it’s too late. Find out more about the benefits of penetration testing here

Staying protected with SupPortal 

At SupPortal, we work with businesses to prioritise their cyber safety all year round, including over the holiday period. 

Whether it’s a security breach from cyber criminals, viruses, malware or even an accidental employee breach, we can help. We provide a range of CSaaS solutions including Managed Cyber Security subscriptions, Cyber Security Assessments, Cyber Security Awareness Training, Cyber Incident Response and Disaster Recovery.

If you’d like to talk further about how SupPortal can help keep you and your business safe, chat to us at 02380982218. 

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