Busting common cybersecurity myths - Hamilton Fraser


Shrouded in technical jargon and scary statistics, it can be hard to decipher the truth about cyber crime. Where and when could it affect you? And how should you protect your business?

We’ve busted seven cyber security myths to keep you in the know.

1. Myth: Viruses and malicious software, or “malware”, only affect computers and laptops

Truth: Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices can all also be affected. According to one study, the amount of Trojan and ransom software on Android phones doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year.

2. Myth: You can’t be attacked on Facebook or other social networking sites

Truth: Social networks can be a prime target for scammers. Social media attacks can involve fake gift cards or survey scams, while trick error pop-ups can urge victims to call a number where you will be sold services or fooled into giving your bank details.

3. Myth: We don’t save anything worth stealing on PCs so a breach wouldn’t matter

Truth: Not true! Hackers are always getting more malicious. Uses of “ransomware”, which locks you out of your computer unless you pay a ransom. Do you save your customer details and banking passwords in the cloud?

Breaches are not limited to computer systems. Cloud architecture is just as vulnerable and needs security measures of its own, it is important to talk to your provider for more information.

4. Myth: We use Apple devices because they don’t get viruses

Truth: It is true that hackers still primarily target PCs, but Apple computers and iPhones are becoming susceptible. In 2015, ransomware began to target smartphones, Mac, and Linux systems – so watch out whichever operating system you favour.

5. Myth: I won’t get caught out because I don’t visit dodgy websites

Truth: A common misconception, because legitimate websites can often be compromised and infected with malicious code. Attackers are profiting more and more from flaws in browsers and website plugins. Nearly 75 per cent of all legitimate websites are estimated to have unpatched vulnerabilities.

6. Myth: I’ll know straight away if my business is attacked

Truth: Sometimes it is beneficial to a hacker to stay unnoticed. The longer an attack stays on your machine undetected, the more information it can gather and more damage it can potentially do.

7. Myth: If our business has already been attacked then we won’t get targeted again

Truth: Previous attacks can actually make you a target. Spear-phishing campaigns, where cyber attackers target the same business several times in short succession, increased by 55 per cent in 2015. Large firms which experienced an attack were then likely to be targeted a further three times in the same year.

What should I do to prevent cyber crime?

  • Create complex, hard-to-guess passwords. The most secure ones are 8+ characters long, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, and are different for every account. Try not to use birthdays or guessable words – like the word ‘password’ itself
  • Never click on links or attachments from people you don’t know. If you must, run them through email scanning software first
  • Use a comprehensive security solution rather than relying on the free software that came with your PC or system
  • If you do suffer an attack, learn where your weaknesses lie and make sure you respond to prevent further hacks
  • For cyber risk liability insurance tailored to your business, talk to our leading cosmetic practitioner insurance advisers on 0800 63 43 881




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