Category Archives: Cyber Security

The Gadget Man – Episode 162 – Working From Home During the Coronavirus / Covid-19 Crisis

Such are the strange times we live in, many of us now face working from home for the first time along with caring for our children.

I have worked from home extensively over the past 20 years and I thought I would try and share some tips on how I have been able to work effectively in a home environment.

This morning I spoke to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about the trials and tribulations about working from home. Listen in to the stream to hear what I had to say and especially the advice at the end.

Stay Safe and Healthy

If you have been given a laptop to use at home, then there is a danger that you may find yourself sitting in an armchair trying to work and you will soon find this isn’t going to work well.

  1. Set up a work environment in a spare room or even your bedroom where you can away from disturbances and distractions as best as possible.
  2. Find a comfortable chair and if possible sit near a window so you can get fresh air while you are working.
  3. Set up your computer, so that is a semi-permanent environment and will allow you to separate work from home and give you a place to ‘go to work’
  4. Get dressed, you don’t go to your place of work in your pyjamas, so again, getting dressed gets your prepared for work.
  5. Take plenty of breaks. If you have children at home, you will need to be able to give them attention. If you can set specific times during the day to stop work, get up and walk around and make yourself a drink.
  6. Try to begin and end your work-day as you would if you were going to your place of work. Let your employer know that these are your work times. Setting these boundaries will mean that you aren’t on-call 24/7.
  7. Most home-working requires an internet connection. Over the coming months, our communications links are going to be under a great deal of strain. The video streaming services are going to be used extensively and this will put a great deal of pressure on internet connection speeds. Home internet is very different to work internet due to what’s called ‘contention ratios’, so you should be prepared for slower than normal connection speeds.
  8. Ask your employer to provide you with a mobile device that can be used as a ‘tether’. This means that should traditional broadband experience issues, you can fall back onto connecting to the internet by connecting via a ‘personal mobile hotspot’.
  9. Make sure all of your internet-connected devices are up to date. This means ensuring anti-virus is updated where applicable and any operating systems updates on your computers, set-top boxes, TV’s, IpCams etc are updated
  10. Keep all of your battery-powered devices charged up, but don’t leave mobile phones plugged in all of the time as the batteries don’t work as effectively if they all continuously charged.
  11. Use a trusted VPN connection to secure your broadband connection further. I recommend Ivacy VPN. Using a VPN or Virtual Private Network secures your connection.

Finally, regardless of whether you are working at home or not, you WILL find the number of scam calls you receive will increase, mainly because you will find yourself at home so much more. NEVER give out any personal bank details over the phone including PIN numbers or passwords. Ignore all automated calls and just hang up. These people care little for the health or financial wellbeing of their victims. If in doubt, speak to a trusted friend or member of your family before taking any action that will cost you money.

Stay Well and see you soon!

Matt
www.thegadgetman.org.uk

Keeping Customer Data Safe In Your Business

You’ve got a business, and you’ve got plenty of customers milling in and out of it every day you’re open and operating. Even when you’re closed, you’ve got an ecommerce website that allows people to order what they want from you whenever they want, allowing you to ship out products or services as soon as you’re next able to. It’s a great element to have to your business, and increases your exposure, outreach, and potential sales from these by tenfold.

But that means you’ve got a lot of data to keep track of at the same time. And this data is very important, so you need to keep it safe. So here’s just a couple of details to remember about storing customer data, in the safe and right ways.

 

Always Give Customers an Option

Whenever a customer comes through your ecommerce site, give them plenty of choice over how their details are used. Let them know how their information will be used whilst they’re on the site. Let your customers know they have the option to store their credit or debit details when they use your site, and that they also have the option for the system to forget all about their card. After all, it’s completely up to the person shopping with you whether or not you have their details on file, and you shouldn’t want it any other way.

Move On From Physical Storage

If you’re using physical storage to keep a track of your customer details, you might be missing a trick here. Not only do things like hard drives, USB sticks, and filing cabinets all have a maximum capacity to them, but they’re also quite hard to sort through. Flash drives alone have a huge risk to them, in that the data stored on them can be lost at any moment, and pieces are chipped away every time you log one in and out of your computer. And then you’ll have to look up a guide like https://setapp.com/how-to/usb-data-recovery.

So use cloud storage, or server based storage, instead. There’s a lot more room for expansion, and you can invest in private storage that only you have access to. End to end encryption, as well as the ability to search for the right files in seconds – it’s a real upgrade to have a look into at least.

Keep Outside Connections to a Minimum

If you’re looking to stay safe and secure in the modern day and age, you need to be sure as few people as possible have access to your company files. Especially the customer details you have stored for ease of access on both sides of the screen. So make sure only a select few people have the passwords or keys to the storage, and make sure only secured WIFIs have access.

Customer data is a priority. Security is a big part of maintaining business longevity, so it needs to be something you prioritise in your quest to take your company higher.

Technology And Cyber Security

Crimes that are associated with cybersecurity are from being problems created by the digital age as some would have you believe. Things like fraud and identity theft both existed long before the first computer was invented and criminals were finding ways of evolving their plans without the use of the internet. However, it is fair to say that now they have moved their operations on to the digital landscape it is time we are all prepared.

With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some of the tech options available to you so that you can stay safe and secure.

Understanding The Threat

The first thing you should do when it comes to cybersecurity is to build up your knowledge of what the threat actually is. That means learning what the different types of attacks are that might come your way and what form they are going to take. Before we look into these areas it is important to note that while the threat might seem extreme, there will always be people creating tools to help you combat these problems and sometimes common sense is your best line of defense.

Two of the common types of cyber attacks are listed below and the way they are used is also given as a brief description, this information will be critical to your success in staying safe online and in the digital world:

  • Malware

This term refers to malicious software such as:

  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Viruses
  • Worms

Usually these types of software breach a computer’s security due to the user clicking on a link or downloading them without knowledge. This is where common sense will be a big factor in your security. To avoid having your information stolen through your PC or having malicious software break your home network, don’t click on links from unknown sources.

  • Phishing

This might be one of the terms you are most familiar with. Phishing refers to the practice of sending out communications that are fraudulent such as from a bank or government official that asks for private information. The aim is to steal sensitive data or payment details by posing as a trustworthy source. Once again you should use your own initiative to avoid these attacks where possible.

Software To Help

So, now you know some of the threats you are facing, what can you do? Well, there are some great basic tools that you can use to prevent falling victim to these attacks. The first is to ensure that you have a secure antivirus installed on your device. Companies like McAfee and Norton have been working tirelessly for years to provide you with software that will fight off malware that finds its way onto your computer.

However, sometimes you can get a data breach through alternative methods due to the fact that phishing scams can be highly evolved. Something you can do is sign up to protection services such as https://budgetboost.co/lifelock-cost-review/ that will look for breaches of your private information and secure it up.