Written by Zahra Saeed
Posted on 28/10/2015

Four ways to protect yourself from the data fraudster

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The recent “significant and sustained” cyberattack on phone and internet provider Talk Talk’s website is just the latest example of hackers wreaking national – and even global – havoc. With no fewer than up to four million customers’ personal details being compromised – and with the latest suspect being a mere 15 years old - Talk Talk’s second security breach in as many years highlights just how susceptible we are nowadays to data fraudsters.

And whether you’re a Hollywood star (who can forget the salacious celebrity details revealed by the 2014 Sony hack), an unfaithful spouse (Ashley Madison), or even US Central Command (hackers claiming to be connected to Isil changed CenCom’s YouTube and Twitter logos into an image of a hooded fighter), you’re not safe from this very modern crime.

So, what can companies do to prevent becoming the next victim of cyber fraud?

Prevention is better than cure

It’s important to remember that data fraudsters are often out for mass destruction – whether it be your clients’ privacy or your company’s reputation. And building yourself back up after such annihilation can be extremely tough. Therefore, it’s always crucial to put into place protection – however basic – in order to deter hackers from targeting your website and any other online presence you have in the first place.  

Open Sesame

One simple way of keeping your online data under robust lock and key is by choosing your passwords carefully. They’ve got to be something that’s impossible to guess, so forget actual words or memorable dates. Random is the mot du jour when it comes to passwords, so think a mishmash of numbers, letters, exclamation marks, dollar signs – the more haphazard and varied, the better. It’s also a good idea to put into place other security measures, such as setting a limit to how many login attempts you can make within a given time, logging people out automatically after a set period of inactivity, and requiring all employees to change passwords on a regular basis.

Update your software- and your knowledge

So you’ve done your research and bought the best software to protect your website. Well done. But don’t forget to install any updates when informed by the software company. Keep in mind that updates are often related to security weaknesses, so if you don’t put in the effort, you could potentially be creating chinks in your online armour that can be easily penetrated by an eagle-eyed hacker.

Similarly, it’s important for you to stay up to date with any news of cyber security threats so that you can implement any new forms of protection as required.

Back up

Should the worst happen, you need to be sure that you’ve still got the data and information that’s crucial to the survival of your company. The best way to ensure this is by backing everything up, both on and off-site. And not just once, but several times a day.