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What are the cyber security commandments?

By Shannon Williams
Thu 25 Feb 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Consumers and businesses are still relatively uniformed when it comes to cyber security, despite growing visibility around the topic, according to CompTIA.

The company says the lack of understanding means the biggest security threat to businesses is people.

However, CompTIA says organisations and their employees can take steps to minimize these risks.

“Some cyber incidents, such as data breaches, are caused by malicious hackers or poor preparation and planning by organisations, and many are a result of employee errors,” explains Nick Beaugeard, CEO and founder at HubOne and chair, ANZ Community at CompTIA,

“This is because most workers’ cyber security knowledge and habits continue to lag well behind the state of the threat landscape as it stands today,” he says.

Research commissioned by CompTIA reveals there are eight cyber security commandments that everyone should follow to minimise cyber risks:

Avoid doing secure work on unsecure Wi-Fi networks

CompTIA’s research found that almost all employees (94%) connect their laptops and mobile devices to public Wi-Fi networks). Of these, 45% said they do online banking over unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and 60% said they access work documents, potentially putting themselves and their businesses at risk.

Never mix work and personal logins

According to the research, 38% of respondents say they use their work passwords for personal accounts and 36% claim they use their work email for personal accounts. CompTIA says employees need to be encouraged to separate the use of work and personal emails to reduce the potential vulnerabilities associated with sharing accounts and passwords.

Stay away from random USBs

In a random USB stick drop experiment commissioned by CompTIA, 17% of employees plugged the USB they had found into their computer, potentially exposing their business devices to malware and other threats.

“This demonstrates the generally poor understanding of good security practices among many workers,” CompTIA says.

Don’t recycle your login credentials

The CompTIA research found that while almost half of workers maintain at least 10 logins, only 34% have at least 10 unique logins, meaning that many employees are recycling their login credentials. This increases the chances of a successful attempts to gain unauthorised access to both business and personal accounts, CompTIA says.

Don’t delay with operating system updates

More than a tenth of respondents said they irregularly install operating system updates, if at all, on their work computer.

CompTIA says this mirrors the 14% of respondents that also treat OS updates on their personal computers the same way.

“This means that although the majority of employees are up-to-date, there are still some whose devices are at risk.”

Always choose two-factor authentication

More than half of respondents do not voluntarily apply two-factor authentication to their online accounts, making it much easier for someone to gain unauthorised access to a device or a network, CompTIA explains.

Change passwords regularly

More than a third of employees surveyed change their work passwords sporadically, the survey reveals. For personal accounts, this figure is well over half. Changing passwords regularly makes it much harder for an account to be broken into, CompTIA says.

Take advantage of cybersecurity training

Almost half (45%) of respondents don’t receive any form of cyber security training from their employers, according to the survey. CompTIA says this is surprising given the growing cyber safety awareness organisations now have.

“Business leaders must take a more active approach in educating staff as the threat, software, and device landscapes continue to evolve,” says Beaugeard.

“Good training programs will ultimately shape end users’ behaviour and prime them to make better choices, minimising risk for themselves and their companies.”

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