Pointers for advice practices
If you’re an adviser working with CFS, here’s what you need to know about basic security measures to help protect your business against common cyber security threats.
Use security software
Security software such as antivirus and malware protection are a good first line of defence in protecting your devices.
Modern versions of Windows include free Windows Security to scan for suspicious files and programs, and detect and remove malware from your devices. Microsoft also allows the installation of third-party security software for users looking for a higher standard of protection.
Apple Mac computers don't include security software by default, so it’s important to install reputable third-party software.
Good security software can help protect your business from phishing attacks, ransomware (which is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid) and other threats.
In selecting security software (such as anti-virus or anti-malware), be sure to first read reviews to assess its reputation. The Australian government also provides guidance around antivirus software if you’d like more information.
Remember, it’s important to update your software regularly to reduce the chance of a cybercriminal using a known weakness or hack your device.
You may also want to turn on automatic updates for your devices and software. If your device or software is too old and updates aren’t available, consider upgrading to a newer product.
Only install software from reputable developers
Cyber criminals are known to embed malicious code into software that appears legitimate as a way to infect their targets with malware, which is designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. Often, this software is pirated or available via unauthorised or unofficial sources.
The safest way to avoid downloading malicious code is to only download software from official stores.
The Microsoft Windows Store is the official online marketplace for purchasing and downloading software for Windows. For Macs and Apple iOS devices, it’s Apple’s App Store. Google Play is the official online marketplaces for Android devices.
Limit administrative access to your computers
Each user account has rights to perform specific functions. In small businesses, it’s often the case that all users are given full online administrative rights by default. That means they can install new programs, change security settings, and choose personalised colour schemes and wallpapers.
Restricting administrative access greatly reduces the number of infections and security breaches. Most users simply don't need administrative access, even if they want it.
Encrypt your hard drives
Disk encryption ensures that if a computer is stolen, the thief is unable to access the data.
The only way disk encrypted-data can be accessed is if the drive is powered on and the thief has the user’s account login details.
Microsoft Windows disk encryption is called Bitlocker. Microsoft provides step-by-step instructions for using Bitlocker on its website.
For an Apple Mac, a program called FileVault is used to protect hard drive content. Apple’s instructions for using FileVault are available from Apple’s support website.
Back-up your data regularly
Regular back-ups can help you recover your information if it’s lost or compromised.
- Create and implement a plan to regularly back up your information.
- Test your back-ups to ensure you can recover information successfully.