Within 24 hours of hearing Chris Hails from Netsafe speak at the NetSquared Wellington Safer Internet meet-up, I made some changes to improve the security of several websites I look after.
I’ve set-up automatic back-ups, and installed a security plugin, onto three WordPress websites. I’ll also check the maintenance agreements for some other websites hosted by two different web companies. Next step is testing out whether I can restore a website from the back-ups.
After the meetup Chris pointed to WordDefence, a plugin that “provides real-time distributed protection against attacks”. I’m pretty sure there’ll be comparable plugins for other popular CMSs.
Next, I’ll create a checklist assess whether back-ups are actually being saved, plugins and core code is up-to-date, and for recording intrusion attempts.
You could call this a mini-security warrant of fitness to assess the robustness of our online security measures. Chris suggested looking at the Connect Smart website to get ideas for a fuller audit. This covers all aspects of an organisations use of the Internet.
Netsafe keep data on the ways New Zealand businesses have been affected by cyber crime. The main types of threats in the last three months were: ransomware, intercepted emails, hacked websites, job vacancy scams, spear fishing and insider threats.
Keeping up to date about such scams and threats is vital. The regular Netsafe email newsletter is a good starting place. As well as useful tips and horror stories that act as warnings, they send alerts if some particularly rabid virus or scam is on the loose.
It’s important to bring the safety message home. For us anyone venturing onto the Internet, whether at home, work or in-between, it pays to follow advice captured in the “The Tight 5”:
- Think before you click
- Update everything
- Back up your files
- Use a secure wireless network
- Use strong passwords
The message from Chris that really stood out is that it’s too late to do anything after an attack, so don’t delay putting your house in order. It’s a message I’m heeding.
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The NetSquared Wellington October meet-up was part of Safer Internet month run by TechSoup with support from Microsoft.