IT Security Guide - ICO

A useful IT Security guide written by the ICO for small businesses.

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Online Shopping Safety

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Watching my daughters shopping online, and it’s clear to me that I’ve got different buying behaviours - usually by the time I decide to buy something, I can’t wait for the delivery time and so I choose to buy locally.  I’m not the norm though, as the online shopping market continues to grow.

So how can you all stay safe when you shop online? 

Recent events tell us that you can’t assume any website is safe, however there are a few things you can do to minimise the risks:

1)      Always check for a closed padlock symbol on the website address.  This shows that the site’s security is up-to-date.

2)      Always ensure when entering private card details on a website that the web address starts with Https.  The ‘s’ at the end of the http indicates that the website is secure through encryption. 

3)      It is recommended that you use a credit card rather than a debit card when purchasing online, as this gives you more buyer protection.

4)      If you spot a bargain on an obscure website that seems too good to be true, then it probably is!  Do not be scammed by this.

5)      A lot of websites ask for you to create an account and a password. Do you tend to use the same passwords for all websites?  If you use the same passwords that you use for your banking, email, social media accounts, etc., then you are putting your security information at risk of being breached.  There is no guarantee your passwords will be kept secure, therefore we recommend when online shopping, that you make random passwords for the websites.  You don’t need to remember the random password, if you go back to the site in the future then it’s easy to rest your password, and by doing this you will protect your private/sensitive passwords as much as possible.

Enjoy shopping, and stay safe online!

Facial Recognition and Passwords

eye 2771174 640 low res Can you easily remember all your passwords?  It is fair to say that most of us are suffering from password fatigue.  However, it is unrealistic to expect someone to change passwords regularly, and have different complex passwords for everything.  It could be argued that passwords are no longer fit for purpose.

Bring in biometrics……we may have seen how it is possible to fool a finger print, but what about facial recognition?  Time will tell; however, it has to be better than using easy-to-guess passwords.  How easy will facial recognition be to fool?  Perhaps those of us with squint noses, and odd shaped ears now have a benefit as it makes our facial ‘passwords’ more complex!

Will it be possible to spoof a photograph?  I would doubt it.  But it is fair to say someone will find a way round it, eventually.

So, what is the verdict? 

-          For personal devices:  Use it.  We see so many weak passwords and therefore overall this must be an improvement, and the technology will only get better.

-          For business: the technology is still too new.  However, existing multi-factor authentication should be used to protect sensitive systems and especially ‘admin’ accounts.

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