Articles: Computer Attacks: Be prepared

Articles: Computer Attacks: Be prepared

Date Added: 09/06/2014 @ 3:40pm

In the past week, the National Crime Agency has warned that we may have as little as 14 days in which to prepare ourselves for what could be a significant digital threat.

Should we be concerned?

While I don't think its time for placards proclaiming "the End is Nigh", it should be taken seriously. After all, the NCA doesn't issue announcements like this lightly.

There are millions of hackers and spammers prowling the internet all the time, looking to exploit security vulnerabilities in browsers, security systems and websites all the time, so in some senses a "wake up call" like this is always welcome.

What should I do?

The solutions are probably things you are already aware of, but probably don't do often enough, so my advice would be to do the following:
  1. Do those Updates - As frustrating as it is when programs constantly nag you to do updates, it is important that you do them. Browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer will release fixes for known vulnerabilities in their updates. So make sure you are up to date. Other programs that use, or are used by browsers like Java, iTunes or Adobe will also need to be up to date.
  2. Virus Checker – Make sure that your virus checker is up to date and that your subscription is up to date. You don't necessarily need to buy a virus checker, there are some quite good free services out there. AVG for example, offer a free basic version which will stop most hackers and viruses, but if in doubt go with a name you know. Of course, a virus checker is no good if its not switched on. You should, of course, scan for viruses and threats regularly - most systems allow you to schedule this in.
  3. Back up any important files – Ultimately  if you make a copy of anything important on your computer onto a disk, CD, data stick or even cloud backups then if anything happens you’re important files are safe. This is essential not only because of hackers, but also because even the best computer can develop a fault.
  4. Passwords - If you use the same password for everything, consider changing it to something different for things like your email and anywhere you regularly spend money. So, should someone get access to your email account they don’t necessarily get access to everything. While remembering multiple passwords can be confusing, its like having a single key for everything in your life - if you lose it, you're vulnerable.

You can get more advice from the NCA website themselves here: or drop us an email if you want more specific advice.

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