Cyber security is the activity required to protect an organisation’s computers, networks, programmes, and data from unintended or unauthorised access, change or destruction via the internet or other communications systems or technologies. Effective cyber security relies on people and management processes, as well as technical controls.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on the cyber fraud landscape which cyber criminals were quick to take advantage of. As our professional and private lives have become increasingly digitalised, this has given rise to new vulnerabilities.

As we adapt to modified ways of working, we need to ensure we continue to take the security of our data and systems seriously. The layers of security we rely on in the workplace are naturally reduced when working remotely. There are some simple security tips that will help ensure your work, devices and data remain secure.

Securing Your Devices
  • Ensure your devices are kept up to date with the latest security updates. Updates may be done automatically by your organisation or they may require you to manually install.
  • Never allow anyone such as family members to access your device for personal use such as internet browsing.
  • Never leave equipment unattended, anywhere. It is good practice to lock your workstation when away from it at home and if you live in shared accommodation it’s obligatory.
  • Only use apps from official App stores such as Google Play or Apple App Store and avoid using unknown or 3rd party applications on personal devices.
Phishing Attacks
  • Be suspicious of any emails, calls or texts asking you to check or renew your passwords and login credentials.
  • Verify the authenticity of the request through other means e.g. call the IT helpdesk.
  • Hovering the mouse cursor over the sender’s email address should show the email address the email has actually come from.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or open suspicious attachments.

Further information is available dealing with suspicious emails, text messages and phone calls in the social engineering section.

Staying safe online
  • To understand how to stay safe online, please see our guidance on malicious websites and how to protect yourself.

Improving your cyber security:

  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi when working remotely. Either work offline and connect later at home on a more secure network or connect to your work device by tethering to your mobile phone.
  • Don’t use your work email address to register on non-work-related websites.
  • Don’t use any USB drives other than those supplied and authorised to connect to your organisations network.
  • Use a strong password for your emails – see our advice section on passwords.
  • Do not open email attachments from unknown senders – these could be infected with malware.
  • Update your devices - out of date software, applications and operating systems contain weaknesses and makes them easier to hack. Updating your devices will keep you safe online.
  • Back up your data – backing up your data means creating a copy of your information and saving it to another device or to cloud storage (online). Backing up regularly means you will always have a recent version of your information saved. This will help you recover quicker if your data is lost or stolen.
  • Timely reporting will help to limit the potential damage done by cyber incidents. Depending on your organisation’s policies and processes, you should contact your line manager or IT support if you think something is wrong.
  • Don’t be afraid to report: Cyber incidents can be difficult to spot, and mistakes do happen. Don’t be afraid to report an incident, even if you think you may have caused it. Letting people know will help to limit the damage. Don’t assume someone else will report the issue. It’s better that several people report it than none.