The weakest point of any security solution is… Humans.

Here at Spy Games we regularly play the bad guys during our team building events, 'stealing and holding to ransom' vital information from our clients, so they have to earn sufficient "spy dollars" during the event to get it back.

But in the real world the chances of being hacked and held to ransom are growing.

No matter how effective or expensive, the security tools protecting your information is, there’s no way to predict the damage caused by a single careless act.

The war against cyber criminals is fought each time you decide to click an unfamiliar link or open an attachment. Just a single mistake could be the reason for massive data loss.

To help we’ve compiled a list of things you should be thinking about whenever you’re using the Internet.

You’ve probably heard many or all of these tips before, but repetition helps to reinforce the message.

  • Realise that YOU are an attractive target to hackers. Don’t ever say “It won’t happen to me.”
  • Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and DON'T use the same password for multiple sites. DON'T share your password with others, DON'T write it down, and definitely DON'T write it on a post-it note attached to your monitor at work.
  • Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time—no matter how short—lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well.
  • Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it’s unexpected or suspicious for any reason, DON'T click on it. Double check the URL of the website the link takes you to: bad actors will often take advantage of spelling mistakes to direct you to a harmful domain.
  • Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should ONLY be done on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a cafe’s free WiFi—your data could be copied or stolen.
  • Back up your data regularly, and make sure your anti-virus software is always up to date.
  • Be conscientious of what you plug in to your computer. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, and even smartphones.
  • Watch what you’re sharing on social media. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a shocking amount of information— Your address, date of birth, where you went to school, where you work, when you’re on holiday. This could help them gain access to more valuable data.
  • Offline, If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, it’s okay to say no. You can always call the company directly to verify credentials before giving out any information.
  • Be sure to monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you’ve been compromised.
  • Finally remember if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.