Following a range of cyber security scares during 2014, such as CryptoLocker, HeartBleed, the Apple ‘goto fail’ bug, users of laptops, tablets, PCs and other mobile devices are being advised to start the New Year afresh by updating their security to stay cyber safe.
Hugh Boyes, a cyber security expert at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has issued five top tips which he says will help people to avoid becoming victims of cyber crime.
Hugh said: “With increasing threats to systems and new vulnerabilities emerging daily, we need to raise awareness of the need to improve the cyber security of all the technology we use.”
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Hugh’s top five tips are:
1. Do not use an account with administrative privileges for normal day-to-day activities and web browsing – Accounts with lower privileges warn you if a programme tries to install software or modify computer settings, thus allowing you to decide whether the proposed action is safe.
2. Ensure that your operating system and application software are up-to-date – Many of the patches issued are to patch security vulnerabilities. The quicker these patches are implemented, the lower the risk that your computer can be compromised through known vulnerabilities where fixes are available. This should include up-to-date anti-malware software.
3. Take care when downloading and installing software – If it is free or is not from a well-recognised and trustworthy brands, there is a risk that the software may include features that spy on you (the user), enable unsolicited advertising, or install harmful software on your computer.
4. Treat with caution unsolicited emails containing attachments or hyperlinks (particularly shortened links) – Many phishing attacks attempt to trick you into opening a file loaded with malware or to visit a site that runs malicious scripts on your computer
5. Apply common sense (due diligence) – If an email offer looks too good to be true, the prices on a website are abnormally low, or you receive an unsolicited telephone call offering computer support (e.g. from someone claiming to be from Microsoft), then it is likely that you are the target for a scam.
By Hugh Boyes, Cyber Security Expert, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
For over 140 years the IET has been inspiring, informing and influencing the global engineering community, supporting technology innovation to meet the needs of society. With the complexity and diversity of the engineering world the role of the IET is more relevant now than it ever has been.
The IET would like to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.