Cyber Security...are you safe online?

At a recent Business Gateway conference, I was lucky enough to hear a presentation by Gerry Grant from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre. Gerry's job title is Ethical Hacking Consultant and he has a degree in hacking! Yes, it's possible to get a degree in Hacking, but the good thing is the word Ethical in his job title. That means he does it for the greater good.

It's always insightful hearing people like Gerry talk, even if you pick up just one or two little nougats of information. Cyber Security is not just important to big businesses such as banks, the health service (remember WannaCry a few months go) and large organisations, it matters to everyone.

I'm not going to reiterate everything Gerry said, because a lot of it can be found on their website but some of the things that did stick with me that are worth sharing are about passwords and Wifi.

Passwords

Don't use the same password for everything and where possible use a passphrase as opposed to a word. "Oh, but how will I remember the different passphrases across all my websites and tools?" Well there are tools out there that help you with this. If you're on a Mac, Safari will occasionally generate a random password for you and store it in your keychain. Worth considering.

Earlier this year it was also revealed what some of the top passwords were. They can be seen here on the Telegraph website.

It's often a requirement now to include a character in your password. Can you guess the most common one? That's right...! (the exclamation mark). It's also common practice to make the first letter a capital and to replace some of the letters with a number such as S becoming a 5. How many people use the following? Pa55word! Where possible, change your password habits and make your stuff more secure.

Wifi

If using Wifi at home, you're generally on a secure network as you've logged in to your router and so all data between your device and the router is secure. However, how many people access the internet over an unsecure connection, such as on the bus, in a cafe, in the local park, etc. This is unsecure...any data you are passing over between your device and the router is freely available to those that know how to get it. Where possible, avoid using open Wifi. Your mobile data is far more secure.

That's all I wanted to share just now. I don't profess to be an expert in this field...I leave this up to guys like Gerry who know their stuff, but I think it's important to be aware.  Be vigilant and stay safe online. 

Scott Noble