Cyber security: how prepared are you?

By Emily Collins, WRAP partner and CEO of EVC Marketing

You may have noticed that October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. It’s an annual campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats. It’s hoped awareness will empower the public and business to be safer and more secure online.

You may also have thought to yourself, so what? Well, cyber security statistics make for worrying reading*:

  • Half of all cyber attacks are targeted at small business yet small businesses invest less than $500 in cyber security;
  • It is estimated cyber attacks will cost $6 trillion in damages by 2021;
  • Only 10 per cent of cybercrimes are reported each year in the US;
  • There is a ransom ware attack every 14 seconds;
  • Everyone is vulnerable. Major brands like Yahoo!, Marriott, Equifax, Ebay, Target and LinkedIn have been attacked costing millions of dollars;
  • You can become a hacker by buying software and tool kits that start from just $1;
  • Public administration organizations receive one malicious email per 302 emails; and
  • It takes five minutes to hack an IoT device.

Follow our top tips this Cyber Security Awareness Month

The 2019 theme, produced by CISA, for the US Department of Homeland Security, emphasizes personal accountability for cyber security. It stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance security at home and in the workplace.

The message is clear. Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. But how can YOU do this? Here are their top tops for making cyber security part of your daily routine.

1 Protect your login

Double your login protection with multi-factor authentication to ensure the only person who has access to your account is you. Importantly, use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in.

2 Protect your password

Shake up your password protocol. Use the longest password permissible and customize your standard password for different sites. This prevents cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts. Above all, it also protects you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords.

3 Update your software

If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices. The best defense against viruses and malware, for instance, is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software.

4 Be wary at all times

Play hard to get with strangers. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond. And do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.

5 Don’t over share your details

Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your belongings. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are.

6 Check your apps

Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. As a result, your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background using permissions you never realized you approved. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege”. Then delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.

7 Be wary of wi-fi hotspots

Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures to ensure the network is legitimate. Moreover, if you do use an unsecured public access point, avoid sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

If you’re concerned about cyber security in your business, then CustomerCount WRAP partner EVC Marketing offers a cyber security risk assessment. Our network of technicians can provide a range of services including penetration testing, red team assessments, ethical hacking assessments, regulation audits and IT security and back up solutions. Don’t leave it to chance. Take responsibility for your online security and contact EVC Marketing today to arrange your assessment.

About EVC Marketing

Emily Collins and John Heffernan of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.