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What do Christmas movies teach us about Cybersecurity?

 

Here we are again, putting the final touches to our Christmas preparations and making sure our clients are safely tucked up ready for the holidays.  It is not just Santa who has a checklist to ensure the festivities run smoothly!

Even though your focus has shifted from work to celebrations, remember that hackers do not take holidays, and they will be looking to catch you off your guard.  As you let your hair down, watch out for the sucker punch lurking in that seemingly innocuous email about the delivery of your Christmas presents.  And it can be oh so tempting to click on a pop-up message – STOP AND THINK!

The holiday season would not be complete without a viewing of those perennial cinema favourites, would it?  What’s on your watchlist?  You would think that in the season of goodwill, the themes would be about kindness and giving, but let’s look at your list and think again!

In fact, many of your Christmas movies warn about the dangers facing your hero and you join him on his adventures as he overcomes adversity and saves Christmas.  Can you even think of a movie which doesn’t have some jeopardy?  The plot would certainly be less interesting without it.

Let’s consider some of the most popular offerings.

Home Alone

Kevin is abandoned at Christmas and devises ingenious traps to thwart the burglars.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Terrible events would have hit a small American town if George Bailey had not been there to protect them.

Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, The Grinch, White Christmas, Scrooge/Christmas Carol

Just a few of the movies where the magic of Christmas needs to be rescued.

The Snowman

Without protection, the Snowman melts away when the sun comes out.

Gremlins

Bad things can happen at Christmas, especially if you don’t follow the rules.

Die Hard

If Gremlins didn’t convince you that bad things can happen at Christmas, the plots of the Die Hard franchise take this concept to the extreme.  Poor John McClane finds himself in the fight of his life pitted against evil terrorists intent on world domination.

Now replace the villains with cyber criminals, and you can see that each film mirrors the story of the attempted assaults on your business and how you have to fight to foil them and make plans to protect yourself.

What should you do?

  • Protect your company with cybersecurity.
  • Get your team trained up on the dangers from hackers.
  • Call on Computer Troubleshooters to help you with this.

Then ….. relax!

Enjoy your movie viewing this Christmas.  Maybe you will now see your old favourites in a new light!

Before the horse bolts

You must have heard of the expression “close the stable door before the horse bolts”.  Perhaps it would be more apt to BOLT the stable door!  Did you know that both “bolts” are related to arrows (as in a crossbox bolt) – a solid metal bar to secure the door and horses bolting as swift as an arrow.

You may not have any horses to secure, but your business is bound to have data and a good reputation which it would be wise to protect.  And I am sure you have guessed who you need protection from: cybercriminals!

You hear about cyber-attacks every day.  Skinners Kent Academy in Tunbridge Wells was a victim just this Summer.  You may think it couldn’t happen to you, but just think how many dodgy emails land in your inbox.  Can you trust your team not to click on one?

The fact is – people are the weakest link.  Would you like to know how quickly your business could be breached? Head over to the Human Risk Report on our website to find out.  https://computertroubleshooters.co.uk/tonbridge/human-risk-report

How the Human Risk Report works: Online activity using your domain name is analysed, including on the dark web, and your team will be challenged with a phishing test.  Then you will get a report with a human risk score and actionable tips.

If you would like to beef up your IT security, call the Computer Troubleshooters.  As they say, it is better, and a lot less costly, to bolt the stable door before the horse has bolted.

Got a holiday booked? Watch out for dodgy emails!

 

You are bound to be keen to read some news that isn’t lockdown related, so today I am pleased to share with you the latest blog from our colleague Ian Bell at Computer Troubleshooters North Staffordshire.  Not good news, I’m afraid, but a timely remind to stay on our guard as the Summer season approaches.

Ian writes:

Want a distraction from concerns about coronavirus, remote working, furloughing and un-furloughing?

EasyJet have the answer. They just announced a massive data breach, impacting around 9 million users of its website. OK, that’s not the type of distraction you want, but it is a return to pre-coronavirus normality!

What does this mean for you?

First – find out if your email address has been included in a major breach and then become available for criminals to buy on the dark web. The Have I Been Pwned? site (yes that’s the right spelling) is the best resource to find this out. Click on the image below and enter your email address.

If you get some results back, your email address is affected. You should work out what password you used on the affected site and stop using that password. At all. Anywhere. You can also call Computer Troubleshooters for advice.

You cannot stop data breaches on sites you use, but you can limit the impact to you by using a unique, hard to guess password for each login. I’ve posted about passwords several times. I suggest you read How to Escape Password Hell and We need to talk about your passwords again! for some tips on how to make up a strong password you can remember. Both posts also recommend you use a password manager to help you deal with the hundreds of passwords we all have. We now prefer Roboform Business, but you may already know of Dashlane and LastPass. In reality, almost any reputable password manager is better than none.

If you are concerned about your cyber security, get in touch to arrange a free, no strings review. It can all be done remotely via video conferencing and remote support to maintain social distancing.

And there we are – back to mentioning coronavirus issues again.

For more excellent stories from Ian Bell, please visit his website.

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives!

What can Tonbridge Castle teach us about Cyber Security?

 

 

Tonbridge is often overshadowed by its close regal neighbour Royal Tunbridge Wells with its famous Pantiles arcade and Georgian architecture, but there is at least one area where we can claim superiority: Tonbridge Castle.  Believed by many to be England’s finest example of a Motte and Bailey Castle, the Gatehouse has prime position next to the River Medway.

Although it predates the creation of the internet by the best part of 1000 years, the mediaeval approach to defence in evidence at Tonbridge Castle provides a useful lesson for companies under attack from hackers today.  The substantial stone-built walls are an obvious deterrent to attackers, but the knights did not rest on their laurels and stop there, and nor should a modern-day business person be complacent once they have their favourite password in place.

The trick to good defence, either from Norman marauders or contemporary cyber criminals, is layered.  Consider for a moment the features of Tonbridge Castle which contribute to its security:

 

  • Moat
  • River Medway
  • Hilly position
  • Thick, high walls
  • Crenellations where soldiers can repel invaders on ladders while shielded by stone fortifications
  • Deep foundations thwarting diggers who seek to undermine the castle to gain entry from below
  • Portcullis blocking battering rams
  • Arrow slits allowing archers to target their enemies without exposing themselves to attack
  • Murder holes; if the attackers get past the gate, they need to pass through a narrow passageway where they run the gauntlet of trying to avoid boiling oil raining down on them.

Of course the soldiers themselves would be kitted out with chainmail and armour and armed to the teeth with weapons.

Just as Mediaeval castles have layers of protection, your computers also need more than one defence against today’s cyber criminals.  Using password1 no longer hacks it!

How can you turn your business IT into a modern-day fortress?

Here are just a few aspects to consider:

  • Strong, unique passwords
  • Physical security – locks, safes, CCTV
  • Firewalls
  • Multifactor authentication
  • Antivirus protection
  • Antispam software
  • Educating your users about the threats and dangers
  • Backups of data, ideally backup and disaster recovery
  • Ensuring your computers are kept up-to-date and maintained.

The threat landscape is continuously evolving and no-one is immune.  According to a recent survey of business leaders by Opinium, 63% of small businesses (with 1-49 members of staff) reported being a victim of cyber crime in 2018 and 32% of micro businesses (with fewer than 10 employees) were affected.  The impact can be devastating, both in terms of data loss and financially.

It’s time to take a leaf out of the Tonbridge Castle’s architects’ book and build up your business’ protection.  Talk to Computer Troubleshooters today to arrange a security review and learn how you too can be the gatekeeper of a fortress!